Ep 15. Safe Schools, Supported Staff, Brain Breaks & How Much Wine?
In Episode 15 Maria is joined by Dr. Anne Katona Linn. Dr. Anne is a passionate Educational Coach and Leader who has dedicated her career to helping schools and communities develop safe, supportive, and positive school climates for children and teachers. She’s received recognition for her expertise in classroom management, school mental health & special education.
Dr. Anne leverages over 27 years of multi-layer experiences in education including special education and behavior analysis in her work today which focuses on helping schools create safe, supportive, and successful environments.
In this episode, she shares insights on both staff and student well-being that we can apply not only in our classrooms but in the boardroom and in the home. They then talk about wine and Maria answers the question - how much wine do you drink as well as the why behind that answer and how she keeps it mindful.
Stick around to the end where Maria guides you through a relaxing breathing practice.
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Maria Mayes: [00:00:00] Well, I'm really excited to introduce Dr. Anne Katona Lynn today. She's gonna, uh, help us explore some wellbeing tips and just talk about a little bit from the education piece as well. So thank you so much, Dr. Anne, for being here. So grateful to have you.
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: Thanks for having me, maria.
Maria Mayes: So if you don't mind just, uh, introducing yourself a little bit, your background, and then we'll dip into the well being teaching you're here to share with the audience today.
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: Sure. Uh, so I'm an educator and a behavior analyst, and, uh, the reason I get into that is because I had some childhood trauma that impacted me throughout my life. And I really, um, had to get to a point in my life. I did a lot of self medicating and got to a point in my life where I needed to make some changes and started having more panic attacks.
So I stopped drinking. I was kind of curious. And so from there, I actually started my healing journey [00:01:00] and did a lot, many years and, and really continue to do it. So it's been about 25 years of healing. It's all good because it's just I, I love, I love it because there have been so many amazing things. Um, but learning about myself and learning how to use tools that are going to help me and just even understanding boundaries and, and all those things.
So, uh, I do a lot of work around trauma sensitive. Uh, I was a state project director for Safe Schools, Healthy Students. It was a big grant that came out of the Sandy Hook and the Columbine shootings. And so I continue that work and help schools create safe and supportive, uh, and successful environments.
And I try to think outside of the box. It's how can, let's look at the problems and let's figure out how to fix them. And you know, so we all have pieces of a puzzle that we can put together to really kind of create a beautiful picture. If we just, you know, Get away from kind of our [00:02:00] silos. And so I also wrote a book sharing about my journey and how it led me to my work.
Maria Mayes: I just want to pause and just acknowledge your bravery and courage. You're just, you know, being very vulnerable about your own story. So I just want to honor that in this moment. Thank you. I really appreciate that. And know it takes courage and, um, the fact that you're putting that into action and to pay that healing forward for others is huge too.
So share with me a little bit about how schools can become more safe through some of the teachings that you offer.
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: Yeah. So, you know, what I do is help them look at kind of the big picture is how, what are all the different moving parts and, and one of the big challenges is that they have too many different things and they can't do any of it well.
So I help them to kind of. create a framework that's actually going to help them do whatever they do more effectively. And a big piece of that is staff [00:03:00] wellness. And, you know, a lot of teachers are leaving, leaving the field because they're just burnt out and COVID really kind of highlighted that. And so helping staff.
Be more mindful and, you know, use things I know, um, there have been a lot of programs putting yoga and for the staff and the kids and then also, you know, ideally making it available for families as well. So it's, it's helping them all to manage their nervous systems because everybody's kind of on high alert.
So, and when you're, you know, able to kind of. Do that for yourself and recognize what your strengths are and areas that you need to grow and that we all kind of help each other to do that, then you're going to prevent problem behaviors in the long run, rather than just waiting until there's another school shooting.
Maria Mayes: Now, I love your focus on the, the staff, right, the well being of the staff, because as caretakers of those children, you know, [00:04:00] they're putting so much energy into keeping up the health. And wellness of others that oftentimes they neglect themselves. So, um, I certainly see that a lot within the folks that I work with and, you know, my own journey.
I was spinning all the plates, never taking time to spin my own. Um, so what would you recommend just as like a small. Action step that someone could take today. Like, what can they do if they're feeling sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by all the to do's and all the responsibilities and all the caretaking demands that we feel like I can't, I just don't have time.
I can't take time. I can't take time for myself. Then I have to take care of. of my students. I don't have time for myself. What do you say to that teacher to help them step into
that? Yeah, well, the first thing is that we have to put our own oxygen mask on first, and my healing journey made me realize that.
And, you know, so that's kind of [00:05:00] Critical, um, but one thing I really like to do, you know, we have our breath with us always. It's, it's nothing we have to bring with us. We already have it. And so I love box breathing, um, where it's, you know, inhaling and kind of think of doing a figure of a box and that, you know, I'm kind of visually, um, inhaling and then holding it for about four, four to eight seconds, and then exhaling through your mouth and then hold.
So doing that and then holding it
and then relax and doing that as many times as you need and you could do that anytime throughout the day. You don't have to have anything with you. So anything with breathing, uh, And if you start yawning, that's a good thing because your, your, your, your nervous system is actually regulating.
So I [00:06:00] actually, a lot of times when I'm in a space where someone might not feel comfortable with closing their eyes, I ask them to just yawn, right?
Because that's our body's natural way of dropping into that parasympathetic state. And I love brought up, um, the box breath. I got a flashback of me drawing actually in a high school classroom. A picture of a box on a board and then taking some students in this case, it was some soccer players, um, through that breathing practice.
So, yeah, I think going back to your point of putting the oxygen mask on first for the teachers for them to really to be able to be the model, right? Just as we need to as parents or as leaders and businesses, if If we look at our energy is the one that's going to be the dominant force in terms of everybody else is going to kind of regulate to us.
If we're in a space of high anxiety of, you know, hyper vigilance, and that is coming out in [00:07:00] our body posture. That is going to be the energy that both the students or the work team, wherever you might be. I'm ready with so yeah,
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: that. coherence, we kind of model, you know, and, and, and we can only control our own behavior.
So that's kind of, you know, I always tell teachers that it's like, you can't control your kids. The only way you can do that is by really. Figuring out what you need to do for yourself and do the behaviors to then get the kids to do what we want them to do and that, you know, that's hard. Sometimes people are like they want it.
They want a fast, you know, quick, easy thing. But problem is, is that it's not easy and it actually does more damage in the long run. Yeah. Yeah.
Maria Mayes: Yeah. Any other, um, tips you could offer in terms of taking that breathing practice that you just gave as an example, but for someone who's maybe a little bit nervous to start or are not sure how to incorporate this into the classroom, just.
Can you guide us through [00:08:00] that? Because I know a lot of times it can seem like it's just too far out of reach, especially if we've maybe been culturally indoctrinated into these things being maybe a little woo woo or a little, um, far fetched and that, you know, you're going to step out of a place of control if you do some of these practices when it's, as you know, exactly the opposite.
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: Yeah. Yeah. Um, one of the things that I, um, do is kind of brain breaks. And so something like a breathing practice and if, you know, it could be music like dancing to a song, it can be, um, you know, just looking at things like looking for different things in your environment and just kind of paying attention to our environment.
And you know, just some of those things that we don't even realize we can embed them into academics so that they don't feel like they're this. Something separate, but really what I do is I stick them on a little index or little pieces of paper and put [00:09:00] them in a jar and kids can like kind of earn to pick out the brain break.
And what it is, is that during any kind of transition, they can, they do a brain break and it should be really short. So they shouldn't be. A whole ton of time, but they are something that you can do during any transition throughout the day. So it can really be multiple transitions that it just helps them to reset and to have that become part of their routine, it becomes just automatic.
And so, you know, even picking things that are more comfortable and asking, just asking the kids, what are some things that you would like to do? And, you know, maybe giving some idea, giving them some ideas, but just. you know, taking little baby steps and inviting people. So like invite people to do it rather than telling them they have to.
It's it then it's more of it becomes so people are uncomfortable. Yeah. Then they can, they have that choice. And then as they see [00:10:00] other people kind of Being more relaxed or having fun more likely to jump in. So absolutely,
Maria Mayes: that's beautiful. I love that. And I think that could the brain break jar, if you will, could certainly be applied to business too.
So one of the services I offer to my. Customers and clients is, you know, these take five, uh, stretch and breath breaks. So their workplace relaxation videos, where I guide you through a short grounding, breathing exercise stretch, right. But to have this idea of, I really liked the, the fun part of the idea of having a jar, like have a jar in the conference room where, you know, at the beginning of the strategy meeting.
You pick one out and you all do it together for two minutes. How impactful could that be to change the energy to allow everybody to drop the baggage that they came in with mentally, emotionally, and to become more fully present? Because that's what you're offering in that is the ability to become present.
[00:11:00] That's amazing.
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: Yeah. Can I steal that?
Maria Mayes: I really like that
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: idea. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. Oh, I love it. I, I start whenever I work with schools, I start every meeting, we do that and we do a presence activity. I love it. To get them grounded because they're coming in all stressed. And one of the things I also do is I start off with three glows to grow.
So. You know, because again, it's easy to come in and be like bitching and complaining about everything. And so what are three positive things that happened? And then what is an area for growth? And it's amazing that they actually, once they get started on the grows, they kind of get excited about it. And it almost shifts their area for growth.
They, they almost are like. I'm good. I don't have anything right now. And it's like, that's fine. You can stick with that because, you know, you, you have to acknowledge and, you know, just have some positive energy going on so that you can kind of get that momentum. I
Maria Mayes: love that every, every [00:12:00] offering you're sharing here has a common thread of empowerment.
And so I think we've been so ingrained, at least those of us in the kind of the sandwich generation, like, like, I'm going to speak for myself, right? Yeah. That, you know, it was a top down type with in terms of education. Right. But we have this opportunity and really a responsibility. I feel like because now that we know more with all the neuroscience and all the nervous system understanding that we have now, it's our responsibility as parents.
As educators, and it's just members of the community and business owners, I think, to really step up to the table and say, how can I empower this other individual and through, you know, what you started off with sharing a piece of your journey, stepping into vulnerability is going to help liberate the next person step into theirs.
Right. But then also. All of these activities, whether it's, you know, picking something out of a jar or one of the glows. I [00:13:00] love that. It's all everything you're offering is empowering. And if we can empower the Children and they feel that I mean, I see I have two teenagers. I have a freshman and a sophomore and I see it with my own kids.
If I if I offer them the ability to decide what they Need to do with that conflict versus me stepping in, I'm going to get a whole different response,
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: right? Yeah. Yeah. And you could do a brain break jar at home too. I'm
Maria Mayes: gonna, there's going to be one tonight. Let me tell you. So I love it. So, um, where have you seen the challenges or the resistance, uh, within the structure of the.
I don't want to say bureaucratic, but it's a word that comes to mind of the bureaucracy of the school systems themselves. Where do you, where do you find stagnation or blocks within this that you're trying to do?
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: Yeah. One of the, I mean, they often are, you know, this is how we've always done things. And, you know, it's kind of like, how's that going for you?
I don't say that, you know, the Dr. Phil, how's it going for you? [00:14:00] But It's I, I really try to listen to what it is that their biggest challenges are and really try and get in there quick because one of the things is that a lot of times initiatives that are going on and there are 20 zillion different initiatives that they're getting from the state, whatever they get all kinds of things, and they're all really good intention.
It's just too many. And so I help them to really hone in on what are the most important things. And so the barrier is just. Being all over the place like it and, and, and getting buy in like, yeah, this is another thing that we've done. So I'm trying, I try to do things differently. And I also have the experience that I can share my stories of this is how we've, I've seen it work like it can happen.
And I, you know. they can't also see kind of that balcony view. So I like to get up on the balcony and really look like that's kind of, that's one of my strengths, ideation. That's the biggest thing. And so, um, [00:15:00] being able to look at that and help them to see and not just help them to see it, but then how are we going to get there and kind of.
You know, so it's, it's sometimes the buy in, uh, and they feel like it's another thing that we're adding on. And so I really try to, to counter that from the very beginning, that nope, we're actually going to take some things off your plate. So
Maria Mayes: if there's a, I'm just wondering if there's a teacher listening, you know, or someone within the education system that maybe doesn't control the purse strings necessarily, but has the desire to.
Um, take this as an initiative and take it into classrooms. What do you suggest for that person? How do they? Yeah,
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: I mean, yeah, I think the first thing is really what is your vision? And, you know, a lot of times people say, oh, yeah, vision, it's on the website, but actually look at what do you want to see in here in your classroom?
Like, what would you like it to look like? And then. figure out the steps, you know, what are, let's, let's figure out just one specific thing and [00:16:00] really take baby steps and really kind of focus on getting to that one goal, um, that you want to see in your classroom and, and don't try to do everything. That's part of the problem is that they're trying to do too many things.
And so what are the things that are going well and how can you move, how can you use those strengths to move forward? To where you want to be with the classroom. I love because again, it's people don't always teachers don't feel empowered. And so, whereas if they can really look at what would they like to see in their classroom, it helps them.
You know, feel more like they have some control over their environment. Absolutely.
Maria Mayes: That is, I just want to reiterate that for the audience, because I think that's not only something we can apply again in the classroom, but we can apply it in our business and we can apply it within the home. If I look and say, okay, what do I want to see and hear in my home?
Yeah, look at it from that perspective. And then what's going well and where can I grow? I mean, that's [00:17:00] a check in for every parent out there. It's a check in for any human living with another human out there, right? And it's a check in for sure for, uh, business owners and managers to just say, how do I want this, the energy in the conference room to go?
Yeah. What do I want to see within the four walls of this workspace? What do I want to hear? I just, I think that Such sage advice that can be applied anywhere. So I appreciate that. So, um, I'd like you to share a little bit more about, um, the programs that you're offering where we can find you for those who are looking to connect with you.
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: So, um, my website is KatonaLynneConsulting. com and I have, um, a variety of different free, uh, free gifts on there. And, um, and then there's also, well, yes, I have a variety of free gifts on there. I have several podcasts. I also have two books. One is a compilation and then my book. [00:18:00] So all of those are on the website and you can find those as well as you can schedule a time to book with me and we can see, um, you know, how I can help And I'm in the process of, uh, developing a Uh, well, I also, I do coaching and in schools.
And so again, it's, I do training and coaching. I'm trying to get that little bit more evergreen and I'm in the process of doing that. So by the end of this year, I'll definitely have it. But right now I have. Kind of, um, coaching, and I'm getting started on a group coaching, so, um,
Maria Mayes: yeah. Beautiful. Well, we'll include all that information in the show notes for sure.
And I really appreciate you sharing the wisdom you have with the audience. I mean, a big takeaway for me is going to be that brain break jar. I'm just going to invite every listener out there. Do it at home. Do it at, you know, work, do it at school, wherever you can. I think that's just a great piece of advice that we can put into action today.
I know I am. Yeah. And I have [00:19:00] one more question for you, Dr. Anne, and that is what type of wine do you like to mindfully sip, if any? Hmm. You
Dr. Anne Katona Linn: know, Robert, Robert Mondavi, uh, actually Chardonnay is one of my favorites. Okay. And I went to school in San Francisco, so I did plenty of wine tasting.
Maria Mayes: Beautiful. Well, thanks for sharing that.
We'll definitely talk more about Chardonnay. soon. And thank you so much again for your time. All the links will be in the show notes for those that want to reach out to Dr. Ann. I highly encourage it and I highly encourage you guys to create your own brain break jar like I'm gonna tonight. So thank you so much.