Blank Canvas

What would you do with a blank canvas?

For most, a blank canvas symbolizes a fresh start, limitless opportunities, or a clean slate. It can be an object of hopes and dreams, of aspirations and possibilities, waiting to be transformed into something of beauty and meaning. Yet, in some ways, the blank canvas can pose something of a paradox.  While starting something new is exciting, the idea of having full responsibility and accountability for what will be created on that canvas may cause us to feel other things as well, such as anxious, worried, or uncertain. We may question ourselves – are we capable, what if this doesn’t turn out as I’d hoped, etc. 

Similar to the blank canvas, a New Year can be a type of reset or fresh start for many of us. And whether or not we are ready, the New Year is here, perhaps bringing with it mixed feelings. Add to that the adjustment back to school after a break, which is always a transition, and it makes sense why emotions are running high. Everyone responds differently to change and that’s OK. What we can do as we navigate this time is choose to focus on relationships to help everyone feel safe, supported, and valued.

As we start 2022, let’s consider this quote from Seth Godin, “Flexibility, community, and a sense of possibility can go a long way. That doesn’t make it easier, but it’s our best path forward”.  We’ve been given another blank canvas. How will we paint it?

In today’s Wellness Wednesday, we share two ways that we can focus on relationships to support mixed emotions during times of transition and change.


Try this:

As a class, group, or family:

  • Create opportunities to talk and connect. Here are two ideas to get started.
  • Talk: Creating opportunities to talk about feelings and experiences after a break and during times of transition can be helpful. Here are some conversation starters that might help promote safe and meaningful dialogue: “what I missed most about school was…” or “one thing I did on the break that made me happy was…” or “something I am looking forward to this year is…”.
  • Connect: Try doing a quick, neutral activity (2-5 minutes) together (i.e., at breakfast, on the ride home from school, at the beginning of a new class, etc.). Set a schedule and keep the activities consistent and predictable. Maybe you will share a joke every Friday morning, give a “truth or myth” challenge on Wednesdays, or test everyone with a riddle on Mondays. Other ideas could be two minute mysteries, “would you rather” questions, word puzzles, one word stories, or brain teasers. Often these kinds of simple activities can be like a “reset” to help focus attention, build relationships, and put a smile on people’s faces.

Ask yourself, there is no wrong answer:

How do you feel about new beginnings?  What relationships need your focus right now?

Connecting to our faith:

“It is always possible to begin anew, because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us.” (Pope Francis)

 “Your expectations  will not remain unfulfilled, your tears will be dried, your fears will be replaced by hope. For the Lord always goes ahead of you, he always walks before you. And, with Him, life always begins anew.” (Pope Francis)

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out from their distress, He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:28-29)

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)


Further learning:

Booklist of children’s books to teach about emotions
Children’s Book: “In My Heart: A Book of Feelings” by Jo Witek
Children’s Book: “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst
Educator Resource: “Mentally Healthy Return to School Following Winter Break and Beyond



Employees of LDCSB check out WorkLifeHealth from EAP Provider Morneau Sheppell.

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