In just a few weeks, I am excited to join a team of incredible educators for The Educators Wellness Institute in Paramus, New Jersey, spearheaded by the amazing Erin Tashian. With this extraordinary event on the horizon, I wanted to reflect & share my thoughts on how we can harness the power of Generative AI for our own wellness.

Wellness goes beyond simply being healthy – it’s the active pursuit of physical, social, emotional and mental well being. This can mean many different things – and ultimately, it comes down to what works for YOU! In my opinion, mindfulness is a key component of mental wellness and involves cultivating present-moment awareness without judgement of yourself and/or others. I appreciate and respect both the difficulty and clarity when practicing daily mindfulness. And now, at no cost, we can newly harness the power of Generative AI to assist us with our daily balancing act of all the things that consume our day to day and sometimes interfere with our wellness.

So how can Generative AI help educators gain wellness in their daily lives?

First, a LLM (Large Language Model) can become your new personal assistant! There are many out there such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, Anthorpic’s Claude, or Microsoft’s CoPilot – they can prove to be very useful in both our personal and professional lives. By training your new assistant in learning YOU and your priorities- whether personal or professional- you are taking a necessary first step to allow this technology to begin to acclimate itself to you. A simple way to connect is by asking your LLM of choice “Ask me twenty questions in getting to know me, my role in education and my focus for this school year.” Once you receive those questions and provide responses that are unique to you, the LLM will remember, recall and use this information going forward with the content that is uniquely designed for you. You are in the driver’s seat, controlling the outcome based on how you train the model.

Weekly Guidance & Planning

If your home is anything like mine – there are many schedules to coordinate and a lot to keep track of, which can often cause stress and miscommunication. In tasking your LLM to assist you with coordinating schedules, consider a Sunday preparation system of communicating with your LLM, “what’s the best way to manage “x, y and z” this week based on these times and create a Monday to Friday schedule, in a table format with this information outlined” or “we have “x, y, z” in our fridge, plan out at least 5 evening meal recipes that are less than 20 minutes to make with these ingredients and consider the following dietary restrictions: _______.” Whatever it is that you have on your horizon this coming week, see if a LLM can assist you with time management, planning and scheduling.

Coping Strategies & Self-Care

That sudden feeling of overwhelm can take over quickly. Ultimately, it is always important to seek assistance from a mental health professional and check with them first. In a time crunch, when I feel unsure in how to bring my anxiousness down in that present moment, I can ask ChatGPT for coping strategies for anxiety, stress, apprehension, etc. depending on what I am feeling. I can also ask ChatGPT to provide strategies for my own self-care. For example, “Plan out at least three movement activities to help me take a five minute break at various points in my work day.” However, please remember to always check with your mental health professional before including ChatGPT suggestions in your strategy repertoire.

Meditations & Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (Source: mindful.org) Mindfulness has positively impacted me in many ways. By setting up a Mindful Bot in a platform like Mizou– you can interact (or your students) and practice daily mindfulness in this space, without fear, judgement or criticism. Remember, a chatbot can be ANYONE, learn more in this previous blog post dedicated to chatbots.

Imagine being gently led through a meditation session, with a calming voice providing instructions to relax your body and focus your attention. That’s exactly what a guided meditation can offer. I’ve always appreciated using apps like Calm, Headspace or Simple Habit. With the help of ChatGPT and an AI recording, you can explore different techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization. Using an AI Tool such as TTS Maker or Narakeet – you can transform any text to speech, in multiple languages too. By first prompting ChatGPT to design a guided meditation “Create a five minute guided meditation for me that discusses the power of positive thinking and provides lots of breathing techniques.” Here is what Gemini designed for me, instantly:

Five-Minute Guided Meditation: Cultivating Positivity Through Breath

Find your calm: Settle into a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Close your eyes or soften your gaze. Take a few moments to become aware of your breath and any sensations in your body.

Deep cleansing breaths: Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, feeling your belly rise. Hold for a count of two, then exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing any tension. Repeat this breath three times, focusing on the rise and fall of your abdomen.

Breathing in positivity: Imagine yourself surrounded by a warm, golden light. With each inhale, picture this light filling your lungs and spreading throughout your body, replacing any negativity with confidence and peace. Exhale slowly, releasing any worries you might be holding. Repeat this breath visualization for a minute.

Positive affirmations: Silently repeat these affirmations with each inhale and exhale:

  • Inhale: “I am strong.” Exhale: “I am capable.”
  • Inhale: “I am worthy.” Exhale: “I am loved.”

Bringing it back: Gently bring your awareness back to the present moment. Notice the sounds around you and any sensations in your body. Take a few final deep breaths, inhaling positivity and exhaling anything that no longer serves you.

Ending with presence: When you feel ready, wiggle your fingers and toes, and slowly open your eyes, carrying this sense of calm and positivity with you throughout your day.

Remember, even five minutes of positive thinking and focused breathing can make a big difference. Make it a daily practice to cultivate optimism and inner strength.”

*An audio recording of the above thanks to TTS Maker.

Combating Procrastination

Guilty as charged – the procrastination is real in my life. With tasks that I often dread or do not want to finalize, I sometimes wait and wait until the last minute. And, the anxiety builds and the looming deadline is mere hours away.

Where can I turn for assistance with designing a step by step plan to manage these tasks?

AI assistants can offer strategies for breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. They can also provide motivation and accountability strategies to help stay on track. A free tool such as GoblinTools can assist – providing a helpful “to-do” list. It requires no identifying information, so it is also a safe tool for our students to use. There are several helpful tabs to check out!

I also appreciate using both ChatGPT & Canva to design slideshows! By using the “bulk create” app within Canva, you can create a slideshow full of motivational tips for educators!

How can Generative AI assist you in the coming days, weeks, months either personally and/or professionally? My hope is that you will take that next first step and begin to experiment, play and develop your own system to harness its incredible power. Could you imagine other ways ChatGPT or other LLMs can assist you with your wellness & well being? Feel free to share below!

I invite you to say goodbye to those endless to-do lists and that feeling of racing to always catch up! Generative AI isn’t here to replace you, it’s here to assist you and work with you. I hope you will consider welcoming this technology and all of the amazing capabilities it has to assist you with your wellness.

*If you would like to join me in-person on Tuesday, July 23rd, The Educator Wellness Institute registration is open for ALL! Save your spot here.

*And, if you are a language educator and are interested in joining a unique community dedicated to exploring these ideas and many other topics related to Generative AI in language instruction, consider a membership to our AI Innovator Community for Language Educators. A yearly subscription includes monthly themed GenAI workshops, access to several asynchronous courses dedicated to GenAI in the language classroom, a quarterly newsletter with the latest tips & insights and ongoing chats & collaboration amongst educators within the private AI Innovator discussion space. There are also several GenAI courses available to begin or continue your journey in learning about Generative AI as a language educator!