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  • Writer's pictureBehaviour Mentor

Protect And Preserve

If we consider the change to our behaviour over the last year I think we may be in for some surprises. It is obvious that we travel less and that for some we are now working from home and not commuting to the office. But I have become aware of more subtle changes in my own personal behaviour. I identified a number of anxiety issues over the past few weeks which made me stop and think.

Firstly, I realised that I was no longer using public transport.

Understandably, throughout the course of this pandemic, I had been using public transport less but, when did I subconsciously stop?

My interest in socialising has significantly reduced, and my contact circle has become smaller and smaller until I realise that I only meet with a fraction of my friends (here in Switzerland there is a 5 in and out meeting rule with a 2 household recommendation).

I avoid going shopping for food and now plan my meals and shop for the whole week.

Whilst I understand that I am not alone in the changes in my behaviour, it does cause me concern. I am usually very social, I have a variety of friends groups and I am always on the move and busy. I also love to try new things and travel is my biggest passion. Travel is very restricted at this time but we can still move freely around Switzerland. However, I see that I only want to travel within an hour of my home. Why am I making my world even smaller than it needs to be?

I can only think that these unconscious, for the most part, behavioural changes are resulting from an inner need to protect and preserve.

As a behaviour mentor, I find this all very fascinating and while recognising my own behavioural changes and the need for them to be addressed I begin to question the behavioural changes of my students.

How are they changing?

Are they becoming more anxious?

How are they navigating their own route through this pandemic?

All of these questions then prompted me to search for ways in which I could help my students (7yrs). As educators, we want to ensure that our students are feeling safe and secure as this will then facilitate their learning. Concerns arise when our students become withdrawn and we step up to try to help. Identifying that they are feeling anxious or worried can be difficult for young children. It is, therefore, our job to provide them with tools which they can learn to use. So, with this in mind, I have come up with a starter list of suggestions that my students might want to try if they are feeling anxious. But if you think they might work for you then feel free to try them too!


Sharing our worries with a trusted person to help put them in perspective. Others can help us reduce the impact of that worry and even offer us a chance to move forward from it.

Writing our worries on paper

Then scrunch the paper up and throw it in the bin - this comes from an old KidPower activity which my daughter learned in the early 2000s and I have found useful ever since. Dr Karen Treisman has a similar activity in her “Binnie The Baboon - Anxiety and Stress Activity Book” where you write your worry on a speech bubble (or a thought bubble) then scrunch it up.

Come up with 3 good things in your day. Positivity always helps to divert us away from negative thoughts and this simple little activity from Dr Pooky Knightsmith is one I like to use.

Keeping a thought book/diary

When we write things down we can deal with them more easily. We can choose to draw a line through them or we can choose to share them. In this way, we can remove ourselves from the worry. It can also help us to “park” the worry so we can deal with it later or make a fresh start.

Thank you for visiting my blog and please read, share and comment.


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