Feeling Languished? What it Means and How it Affects Your Mental Health

Feeling Languished? What it Means and How it Affects Your Mental Health

It’s the end of the year and you’re feeling burnt out. You have no motivation to teach. At this point, you may be numb and simply just going through the motions, day in and day out. There’s a name for what you’re feeling. It’s called languishing, and you’re not the only one feeling it…


What is ‘languishing’?

Languishing is the opposite of flourishing. It’s a combination of apathy, restlessness, and an overall lack of interest in things that ordinarily would bring you joy. Languishing is not a mental illness; it’s a mental state of low energy.


What causes languishing?

For many people, languishing was brought on by the uncertainty and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s as if we’ve been on high alert for two years and we’re simply running out of mental energy. It’s a feeling not limited to teachers or to U.S. citizens. An international study

of nearly 10,000 people in 78 countries found at least 10 percent were languishing.


Are you languishing?

Maybe. See if you share any of these common signs and symptoms:

    • Isolating yourself from friends and family
    • Going through the motions
    • Struggling with basic tasks
    • A feeling of numbness
    • A lack of self-worth
    • A feeling of restlessness but not knowing what to do
    • A tendency to miss work lately

If you are susceptible to anxiety and depression, you might be more prone to languishing.


Is languishing the same as depression?

No. Languishing and depression share many of the same characteristics but they are not the same. Depression is a mental illness. With depression, you may experience fatigue. You may sleep too much or too little, and have negative emotions and suicidal thoughts.

Languishing is not a mental illness; neither is it a description of mental health. It’s somewhere in between. With languishing, you experience negative emotions. You feel as if you’re not in control of your life. You may feel empty. For some people, languishing could be a risk factor for a mental illness like depression.


What can you do about languishing?

No one wants to feel empty and numb. It’s exhausting and not good for your quality of life. That’s why it’s important to recognize your feelings and do something about them. Fortunately, there are simple self-care strategies that you can take to recharge your emotional batteries and restore your spark. Here is a sampling.


    • Take time off. You probably work a lot, after school, evenings and weekends. Give yourself a break. If you can’t take a couple of personal days, then at least give yourself weekends off. Take the time to recharge so that you can come back reenergized.

    • Find your happy place. Spend time doing what makes you happy, not what should make you happy. Carve out some time each week for a favorite hobby, a coffee date with a dear friend, or simply some precious alone time with a favorite book. Choose something that you look forward to doing, and that will be the right thing for you.

    • Practice self-care. Eat well. Get enough sleep. Taking care of your body will help put you in the right place to support your mental wellbeing.

    • Change your scenery. Take a walk in the park. Stroll along a body of water. Find a quiet place to enjoy nature. Just getting away from your normal daily scene can do wonders to perk up your thoughts. Bring a friend and you can enjoy wonderful social connections, too.

    • Perform acts of kindness. Make someone a cup of coffee. Help a work colleague. Pay the toll for a stranger. Volunteer in your community. The simple act of doing things for others will boost your spirits.

    • Practice gratitude. Remember that you have a lot for which you are thankful. Make a list. Include your thanks for the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of your life. Do this daily, and you’ll start to see a difference in how you view your life.

    • Try something new. Get yourself out of the languishing rut by working on a new skill. Seek out a new interest. Invite a friend to join you, and you’ll get the added bonus of time spent together.

    • Consult a therapist. If you cannot shake the feeling of languishing on your own, ask for help. A licensed therapist is there to help you navigate through this mental state and emerge on the other side more confident, energized, and in the perfect mindset to flourish.


It may be hard to push through right now, but the end of the school year is in sight. And if there is anything we have learned over the past two years, it’s that teachers can do anything they set their minds to. Go on! You’ve got this!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

How Your Class Can Celebrate School Lunch Heroes

How Your Class Can Celebrate School Lunch Heroes

It’s the first Friday in May, which means it’s National School Lunch Hero Day!

School nutrition professionals play a vital role in your students’ well-being. They provide healthy meal choices to hundreds of students each school day. They have to be aware of food allergies, know children’s preferences, and serve it all up with a smile. Our school lunch heroes are definitely someone to celebrate.

As educators, this day is a chance to encourage creativity among your students, teach gratitude, and tie into curriculum areas from language arts to art, music, science, and mathematics. Here are just some ideas.

– Say thank you with a card: Unleash your students’ creativity with food-themed thank you cards. Make a pizza or a hamburger card. Then have students write personal notes of appreciation, thanking their lunch heroes for their dedication.

– Blast it with a banner: Make a class banner to display in the cafeteria. “Hands down, we’ve got the best lunch heroes” could feature handprints from your class. Or take it to the next level with a submarine sandwich banner. There’s no limit to your creativity!

– Voice it with a video: Create a video of your students sharing what they like most about lunch at school, and of course thanking their school lunch heroes for making it possible!

– Say it with a song: Have your class learn a song to sing to the lunch staff. Consider writing a parody from a song like “Still the One” or try this favorite nursery rhyme, “I’ve Got Something in My Lunch Box.”

– Plant it with a flower: Decorate empty milk cartons from lunch and plant flowers in them as special gifts for your school lunch heroes. You can even pair this with a science lesson on plants or growing food.

– Print out a certificate: Create a certificate of appreciation from your class and frame it. As a social studies project, you can even have them write a proclamation similar to what government officials provide.

– Write a poem: Unleash student creativity with an acrostic class poem about school lunch heroes. Use the words “School Lunch Heroes” or expand on them so that every student in your class can come up with a word. Consider displaying the poem on a poster for the cafeteria.

– Count it up: Give a math challenge to your students to calculate how many lunches are served in a week to how many students. Vary the challenge by grade level. Then have students make a graph to illustrate their calculations. Title the graph with a big thank you and “We count on you!” headline.

– Hold a book buffet: Invite your school lunch heroes to read a book in your classroom. They can share a favorite book of theirs or choose one in the class. Follow it with a class reception prepared by students (with the help of parents) so that you treat lunch heroes to a healthy snack.

– Share on social media: Include the hashtag #NationalSchoolLunchHeroDay and people will see it all over the world. You can also use that hashtag to search for ways that schools are celebrating.

National School Lunch Hero Day is a partnership with the School Nutrition Association and author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, who wrote the Lunch Lady book series. To learn more, and get downloadable materials and ideas for activities, visit http://www.schoollunchheroday.com/.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


How to Thank a Teacher This Week

How to Thank a Teacher This Week

Over the past few years, our Teachers have been working harder than ever to help students succeed. Let’s also remember that aside from their duties in the classroom, many teachers have their own kids and are actively involved in school clubs and sports programs.

This National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week, communities across the country will celebrate teachers—thanking them for their dedication, hard work, and the lasting impact they have on our nation’s kids. And they deserve an extra-long standing ovation.

Here are some ideas on how to show your child’s teacher your appreciation for all that they give.

  1. A Personal Note. Nothing beats a heartfelt, thoughtful thank you. Take some time to reflect and convey how your child’s teacher/educator impacted them, and what they’ve meant to you. Bonus: send a note to the school’s principal saying why you appreciate them.
  2.  A “Thank You” From Your Child. This could be a handwritten note, an artwork, or even a video message. Ask your child to share their favorite memory from the year, what they will miss most about their teacher, or the special things they learned from them. Take a photo of your child holding a “Thank You” sign and share it with their teacher.   
  3. Social Love. With the teacher’s permission, give them a shout-out on Instagram. Thanking them online will give them well-deserved recognition and send good feels through a larger community. It may even inspire others to thank their own beloved teachers and share favorite school year memories. You can also tag the post with #ThankATeacher to join NEA’s larger movement online.
  4. Gift cards. You can never go wrong with gift cards. Get creative! Cards for things like iTunes, Amazon, booksellers, Netflix, and HBO can be used right away, while those for movie tickets, coffee, and restaurants will be a welcome treat when social distancing starts to relax.
  5. Classroom Supplies. Hopefully, someday soon teachers won’t have to spend their own money on classroom supplies. In the meantime, your donations will help—everything from pens, notepads, books, and post-its to arts and craft supplies. If it’s difficult to deliver the real thing, a gift card could do.
  6. Going Big. Go in with another family or two for something really special—for instance, a spa day, massage, or a membership to a local botanical garden or museum.
  7. A Meaningful Donation. If you know a cause that they’re passionate about, making a contribution to a charitable organization in their honor would mean a lot.
  8. Volunteer. Given that teachers are designing and growing new learning environments—sometimes on the fly—check in and offer your time or expertise. They may need help with end-of-year activities or other events. And something to keep in mind: teachers appreciate the help and support all year round! Be a teacher’s ally—offer to volunteer in the classroom or at school events.


Teachers are so often at the heart of our communities. Thanking and celebrating them in your own thoughtful way will remind them of their importance, influence, and unique gift of service.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


Improving Listening Skills for You and Your Students

Improving Listening Skills for You and Your Students

In our world of constant communication, it’s easy to be distracted from really listening to someone. Yet good listening skills take us far—in the classroom and beyond. Good listening skills build relationships and resolve conflicts. They help students learn, and help all of us make fewer mistakes and waste less time.

As teachers, we understand that listening is an important soft skill, but we may not teach it. Here’s why you should, along with some guidance on how to improve listening skills for you and your students.


Active vs. Passive Listening

It’s easy to be a passive listener. That’s listening as we multitask. As passive listeners, we divide our attention between listening and doing something else. That does not benefit us as teachers or students. Rather, active listening – focusing all of our attention on receiving and processing information – helps us to fully understand what is being communicated.

Active listening helps students:

    • Follow directions
    • Understand expectations
    • Spend more time on task
    • Connect to content and increase understanding


Active listening helps educators:

    • Better understand student needs
    • Provide meaningful feedback
    • More fully engage students
    • Communicate well with parents, peers, and the administration



How to Teach Active Listening

It feels good when someone is actively listening to you. Demonstrate that to your students by modeling two conversations – one with active listening and one with passive. Discuss the importance of active listening. Then, walk them through the process of how to be an active listener together.

To be an active listener you need to…


1. Focus.

It’s easy to be distracted by the things in our environment, from our phones and devices to other people and happenings around us. To be a really good listener, you have to focus solely on the person talking to you.

Don’t multi-task, look around, or think about things you need to do.

Do give the speaker your undivided attention. Put aside your phone, papers, or any potential distractions. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact. Be present in the moment.


2. Receive.

The best listeners are those who are receptive to new information. You need to be ready to receive a message in order to listen. Importantly, good listeners are not critical. They create a safe environment where others may share their thoughts.

Don’t be judgmental. Don’t engage in a conversation if you’re not ready to listen.

Let go of your opinions during the conversation. Listening does not mean you agree with the message, only that you respect another’s right to express it.


3. Visualize.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why it’s helpful to visualize what the other person is saying. In addition, knowing the speaker’s emotional state will help you more fully understand what he or she is trying to communicate.

Don’t assume you know what the speaker is saying or feeling.

Do listen to the words and picture what the speaker is saying. Pay attention to the speaker’s nonverbal cues, from body language to the tone of his or her voice. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.


4. Wait.

It’s tempting to interrupt a speaker and impose your thoughts or solutions right away—especially if he or she says something that relates to your life. It’s easy to get sidetracked but that’s not good listening. We all think and talk at different rates. Let the other person have a chance to speak.

Don’t interrupt or jump in with your own thoughts or questions. Don’t finish the other person’s sentences. Don’t sidetrack the conversation by starting a new, related or unrelated conversation.

Be patient. At first, it might be hard to simply wait. With practice, it will get easier.


5. Understand.

Eventually, you’ll want to ask a question or two. Questions show that you are listening and that you want to understand what the speaker is saying. Your goal is empathy—to feel what the speaker is feeling. Empathy creates a connection like nothing else does.

Don’t spend the time planning what to say next. It will distract you from what’s being said.

Do wait until the speaker pauses to ask questions to clarify the message. You can say something along the lines of “Can we back up for a moment? I have a question about …”

6. Respond.

You do not have to be perfectly silent or still in the listening role. Good listeners consistently provide feedback whether it’s a word of confirmation or a nod of agreement.

Don’t just sit there or zone out, even if you’re bored.

Do nod and show your understanding through appropriate facial expressions. Interject with a well-timed “hmm” or another simple statement that confirms the message the speaker is sharing.


7. Summarize

You will want to ensure that you correctly understood the message. At the end of the conversation, try telling the speaker what you heard.

Don’t make a long summary statement. The purpose is not to capture every detail but merely the essence of the message.

Do let the speaker know that this is what you understood and ask for clarification if it is wrong. If there’s follow-up to the conversation needed, now is the time to mention the next steps.



Practicing Active Listening

Active listening takes practice. Model good listening skills and call attention to them as you are doing them. Involve students in the process regularly with active listening activities. Examples include:

    • Partner conversations
    • Journal entries following a lesson or other presentation
    • Listen and draw a story
    • Outdoor sound scavenger hunt
    • Mindful listening meditations



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

24 End of the Year Virtual Field Trips- for Free!

24 End of the Year Virtual Field Trips- for Free!

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

Virtual field trips allow students and teachers to go beyond the classroom, and even their own country and planet, to experience a variety of adventures all from the convenience of their seats at school.

They are a great end-of-the-year activity to help students have fun and really engage with their classmates. You can develop lesson plans and activities to complement your “trip”.

Here are some fun, educational, and free field trips to take with your class this May.



virtual field trips



Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour

This comprehensive virtual tour presentation allows visitors using a desktop computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) or a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android) to take virtual, self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and other areas within the natural history museum building as well as select research and collections areas at our satellite support and research stations and even past exhibits no longer on display.


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Museum’s collections database contains more than 270,000 records, including photos and albums—Images of life before, during, and after the Holocaust; Personal stories—Interviews, home movies, memoirs, and diaries; films—historical footage and contemporary films about the Holocaust.


National WWII Museum

The Online Learning Series allows an unprecedented look into the Museum’s collection for those WWII enthusiasts the Museum can’t always reach in person.


The Louvre

Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, and contemplate the façades of the Louvre.


The Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in the world. The permanent collection includes over 200 paintings by Vincent van Gogh, 500 drawings, and more than 750 letters. Discover his work, read stories, walk the museum, and more.


Virtual Colonial Williamsburg

Immerse yourself in an interactive 3D model of Virginia’s 18th-century capital. The project integrates architectural, archaeological, and historical information, presenting the city as it has not been seen in more than 200 years.



virtual field trips


Go On A Journey

Reach The World

Since 2009, 930 travelers have shared their journeys online with more than 17,000 youth in the U.S., publishing more than 16,000 first-person travelogues in the process. By using technology to enable youth to form relationships with global travelers, RTW is sparking a process of personal development that can truly be described as “reaching” the world!


National Aquarium

Visit the famous, Baltimore aquarium where kids can have fun learning while exploring different regions, like the tropics and the tundra.


Seattle Aquarium

Take a tour of the wonderful Seattle Aquarium, watch live webcams and videos, download animal infographics, factsheets, and more!


Monterey Bay Aquarium

Experience the wonder of the ocean wherever you are with 10 live webcams including penguins, spider crabs, jellyfish, and sharks. Read animal stories, learn about their habitats, and more.


San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo has ten live cams to choose from! The zoo also has a website for kids that is full of videos, activities, stories, and games!


Smithsonian’s National Zoo

See giant pandas, elephants, lions, and naked mole rats on animal cams streaming live, 24/7 from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Enjoy free webinars on their website AND download Animal Cam Bingo Cards.


National Parks

Take a trip to a national park from wherever you are! Many national park sites across the country offer digital tours and experiences that you can access anytime, anywhere. From digitally diving under the sea to watching webcams of the cherry blossom trees bloom, there are countless ways to enjoy a park experience online.



virtual field trips


World Destinations

New York City and Ellis Island

Take a virtual tour of one of the most famous cities in the world, and explore its top tourist destinations like Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building. And then head on over to Ellis Island and take their “Coming to America” virtual tour.


Goodrich Castle

Located near the Anglo-Welsh border, Goodrich Castle is one of the finest and best-preserved of all English medieval castles. Take a virtual tour of the castle, learn its ownership and siege history, what life was like in a medieval household, and more.


Buckingham Palace

Explore this magnificent building via virtual tours. The first tour will take you to the Grand Staircase. Click on the small images below to access further tours of the White Drawing Room, the Throne Room, and the Blue Drawing Room. And then scroll to the bottom to read about the events, residents of the palace, and more.


The Great Wall of China

From the sea to the desert, walk the Great Wall of China, read about its history, and uncover secret stamps within its bricks!


The Pyramids of Egypt

Take a 360-degree virtual reality tour of the Egyptian Pyramids and then brush up on your history with Smithsonian Journeys: Ancient Egypt and the Nile


Rome & the Colosseum

Take a journey around the iconic sights of Rome with this virtual tour of the historical centre and the Colosseum.


The Eiffel Tower

The best panoramic views from the Eiffel Tower, both day and night. The mobile guide lets you admire Paris as if you were on the 2nd floor, or at the Tower’s summit. Scan the horizon to the right or left, activate night mode, and zoom in to see Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde, the Hôtel des Invalides, and many other Parisian monuments. You can even click the description at the bottom to learn more about what you are seeing.



virtual field trips


& More!

National Geographic Education

National Geographic Education brings geography, social studies, and science to life. Using real-world examples and National Geographic’s rich media, educators, families, and students learn about the world and the people in it.


Google Arts and Culture Street View and Google Arts and Culture Places

Tour famous sites and landmarks around the world.



AirPano is a project created by a team of Russian photographers focused on taking high-resolution aerial 360° photographs and 360° video. Today AirPano is the largest resource in the world — by geographical coverage, a number of aerial photographs, and artistic and technical quality of the images — featuring 360° panoramas and 360° videos of the highest quality shot from a bird’s eye view.


Your students can also explore Disney World with our fun Virtual Tour of Disney World rides!

Happy “touring” 😉


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Quick and Easy Spring Break DIY Room Makeovers

Quick and Easy Spring Break DIY Room Makeovers

You don’t have to be a design expert to create a cozy corner, a relaxing vibe, or a stylish space in your home. We have a room-by-room breakdown that is sure to inspire you. Best of all, you can do any of these rooms in a week. That’s just about the time off you have for spring break. Coincidence? We think not.

Here are some quick and easy DIY room makeovers for your spring break staycation.

Happy decorating!


bedroom diy


– Choose a color scheme. Pick two main colors and use them to choose varying textures and patterns which will add visual interest. This will help tie together the look of your room, whether it’s a bedroom or other room in your home. Best colors for bedrooms are cool, relaxing tones. Think shades of blue and muted greens.

– Showcase your headboard. The bed is the focal point in your room. Give it a little drama with the right headboard. For an easy fix, use a curtain behind your bed as the headboard. Make your own fabric headboard with material that matches your color scheme.

– Remember the fifth wall. Who said ceilings need to be white? In bedrooms, we spend our share of the time staring at the ceiling. Paint the ceiling a color, and see how it transforms the space.

– Hang drapes from floor to ceiling. Go a few inches above your window to add height, and have the drapes go down to the floor for an elegant feel.

– Get fancy with hardware: Chances are that your nightstands and dressers have traditional knobs. Change them out for tassel hardware or other fancy options.


diy living room

Living Room

– Create a gallery wall. Choose the photos that represent wonderful moments in your life, and images of the people who are most important to you. For a cohesive look, choose the same color frames. Make it a statement wall by painting it a color that’s different from the other three walls.

– Include a hobby piece. Do you love to travel? Perhaps you play guitar. See if you can incorporate some of your favorite past times in the décor. A surfboard shelf, framed albums, a world map, or a guitar hung on your wall not only is a decoration, but a reminder of your happy place.

– Wallpaper a wall. Removable wallpaper lets us change our style without the long-term commitment. Choose a vibrant pattern in your color scheme for one focus wall. The wallpaper becomes the art and sets the tone for the space.

– Add wainscoting to your wall. This decorative trim transforms a room with its elegant accent pieces. You can even use the trim as a guide and paint the wall different colors above and below.

– Conceal the clutter. Use baskets or decorative boxes to store magazines, electronics, and loose items that you use regularly. Place them on a bookshelf to keep them out of the way.

– Add an area rug. It doesn’t matter if you have a carpet already in your living room. You can still add an area rug on top. Choose a pattern in your color scheme and it becomes artwork for your floor.


kitchen diy


– Add a backsplash. It creates a beautiful focal point behind the stove and in other places above the counters. There are so many options available, from glass mosaics to tile to peel-and-stick. You can find online tutorials on how to install a backsplash from the major retailers and home improvement sites.

– Upscale your knobs and handles. Give your drawers and your cabinets a fresh look by changing out the knobs and handles. It’s a lot easier than painting cabinets, though you can do that, too.

Install a pot rack on your wall. It’s an easy way to display your cookware while freeing space in your cabinets for other utensils.

– Add under cabinet lighting. You don’t need to be an electrician to install this type of lighting, which is self-adhesive and comes in strips that can be trimmed to fit your space. It plugs into a standard outlet and some models come with dimmer switches.


bathroom diy


– Upgrade that mirror. You don’t have to spend a fortune to switch out your plain bathroom mirror for one that will be a focal piece. You can add your own frame. You can also reimagine the space with a find from the local thrift shop. Don’t hesitate to add paint for that special look.

Paint your bathroom vanity. A little paint can transform an old vanity into a beautiful piece. Switch out the knobs and drawer hardware for an even newer look.

– Change out your towel rack. You can find many towel racks at your local home improvement store. If you have the time, consider making your own to highlight your own personal style.


Not sure where to start?

– Create a mood board. Collect images of items that you like. You can do this on Pinterest or on a PowerPoint or Word document. You can even do it old school and paste the pictures on a board.

– Find your color scheme in a favorite piece of art. See if those colors will work for your room, and of course, make sure that the art piece is part of the décor.

– Move furniture around. Take out a piece of furniture. See what works and what doesn’t for your space.

For more spring DIY décor inspo, check out our Pinterest Board- Staycation DIYs! Be sure to follow us for every new DIY we discover.

And don’t forget while you’re DIYing this Spring Break, that Educators and ESPs can win a $10,000 Staycation Giveaway from California Casualty!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


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