October 2018 Value of the Month: Wellness
Our value of the month at METNS is wellness. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
– The World Health Organization
“a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.”
– The National Wellness Institute
Why Wellness Matters
Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to live a higher quality life. Wellness matters. Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to relieve stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.
Wellness and our School
In our exploration of wellness and wellbeing with the children, we use this definition from the ‘Weaving Well-being’ Programme we are currently piloting in our school.
feeling good and strong in our minds
and bodies, having energy, getting along
with and helping others, knowing our strengths
and feeling proud because we are doing our best.
It means we can cope with the little problems
and disappointments of life. It means
enjoying life, being grateful for what
we have and accepting ourselves
just as we are!”
A value is a principle that guides our thinking and behaviour. At all times, we aim to translate our values into actions with the children. In this way our taught ethos becomes a lived ethos. How does focusing on our well-being do this? When we think about our well-being, we focus on ways to create strong and well children and adults in our school community. We think about strategies and tools to make us feel good and to build strong relationships in a caring school environment. We put people’s welfare and happiness centre stage.
Make it your goal this October to take care of yourself and to be mindful of your physical and mental health. Try ‘5 A Day’ with your family!
5 A Day for Keeping Mind and Body Happy and Healthy
To celebrate World Mental Health Week, Dr Gillian O’Brien, previous Director of Education and Training in Jigsaw wrote this piece on your five-a-day guide to keeping mind and body happy and healthy.
Our relationships with other people are fundamental to our sense of wellbeing and happiness. Our close relationships with family and friends can yield love, support and a sense of meaning in our lives. Our wider social networks create in us a sense of belonging. So it makes sense that we work on strengthening our relationships and on making new connections.
For example, talking with others should be an everyday event. Conversations don’t have to be all about the difficulties. We need to tell one another about the enjoyable events too.
Knowing when to disconnect is vital too. Being fully present in the company we are in, without the distraction of phones, tablets and other devices, helps to deepen our sense of connection. The ever-growing number of ways in which we can connect with one another means that we are in danger of privileging the quantity of our connections over their quality.
What helps you to grow healthy connections with people in your life?
- BE ACTIVE
Experts have shown that exercising releases endorphins in our brains that make us feel good. Being active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym, competing in triathlons or wearing Lycra.
There are many ways to build activity into our daily lives and it’s about discovering something we enjoy doing and then building it into our routine.
Engaging in exercise can present us with opportunities to meet new people, to engender a sense of belonging, to give us a much-needed break from a stressful day and, above all, to make us feel good about ourselves. Regular exercise is also linked to better sleep which, in turn, is important for helping us to maintain good mental health.
Which ways of being active do you enjoy?
- TAKE NOTICE
We can all get caught up in the relentless busy-ness of modern life. We can become intoxicated with the chatter of the mind. How often are we mind-full as opposed to mindful? Taking a few moments to focus our awareness on what is going on within us and what is going on in nature around us can work wonders for our mental health.
It can free us up, even briefly, from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It can help us get more out of our day- to-day lives.
What do you notice about where you are and how you feel right now?
- KEEP LEARNING
Learning exposes us to new ideas and helps us to stay curious and engaged. It may also give us a sense of accomplishment which, in turn, can boost our confidence.
Learning does not necessarily have to involve lectures, books or traditional teaching methods. It can often take place through doing.
For some, it might involve being shown how to Skype a loved one on the other side of the world, for others it is watching a documentary and for others still, it is experimenting with a new recipe. New learning can happen all the time if we are open to it.
What have you learnt or tried out for the first time recently?
Doing good is good for us. Helping others makes us feel needed and valued; it can reinforce social connectedness and give us a sense of purpose – not to mention the benefits for those we help and the wider benefit to communities by contributing to a more compassionate society.
Giving ranges from simple, spontaneous acts such as paying a compliment or holding open a door to more structured and significant commitments such as volunteering. What have you done recently to make someone happy or to help others?