It’s the start of the new year! For each of us, it’s a time for reflection on the past year, and an opportunity to set new goals. And throughout the winter season, whether we are planning for the holidays, or setting expectations for the year ahead, we experience happiness, worry, struggle, confusion, excitement, stress, relaxation, pressure to please others and the desire for the outcome of our plans to be perfect.
In the Wellness Department, through our health classes and internal communications, we are emphasizing the importance of self care. Self care may include: exercise, yoga, mindfulness, nutrition, sleep, hydration, friendships, loving self and spirituality. Listen to yourself and family members, slow down, and take care of your physical and emotional self.
In the weeks leading up to winter break, the adults at Winsor took on a 15-day challenge to engage daily in fitness, gratitude and healthy nutrition. The Wellness Department would like to extend this challenge to the parents and guardians of the students at The Winsor School! Following are some suggestions to help you on your way to happier, healthier 2020:
Walk, jog, or do some kind of exercise once a day. Every little bit helps! Try to increase the duration or distance incrementally each day. If you already have an exercise regime, try adding a new physical activity.
Meditate, practice yoga, and practice mindfulness. Try listening to music, reading a book, knitting, sewing. Make time for a favorite hobby, or try a new one.
Mindful Breathing Exercise
This exercise can be done standing up or sitting down, and essentially anywhere at any time. If you can sit down in the meditation (lotus) position, that's great, if not, no worries.
Either way, all you have to do is be still and focus on your breath for just one minute.
Start by breathing in and out slowly. One breath cycle should last for approximately 6 seconds.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body.
Let go of your thoughts. Let go of things you have to do later today or pending projects that need your attention. Simply let thoughts rise and fall of their own accord and be at one with your breath.
Purposefully watch your breath, focusing your sense of awareness on its pathway as it enters your body and fills you with life.
Then watch with your awareness as it works its way up and out of your mouth and its energy dissipates into the world.
Journal: Reflect on yesterday, the past few days or weeks.
Take a Gratitude Walk! Go for a walk and make a special effort to appreciate your surroundings. You might notice the smell of flowers, a pretty building, or a soothing breeze. Spend a few minutes focusing on each of your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) to find new things you may not have noticed.
Write down 3- 5 things you are especially grateful for and post it where you can see it.
Write a Letter.
Think about someone who has had a major impact on your life, someone who you would like to thank, or someone who you appreciate having in your life. Write a letter with specific details about what it is you appreciate about them, and send it.
We need to know that we are: whole, enough, worthy, loveable, brave, capable, creative, caring, and grounded with self-confidence and self-compassion. As adults, we need to communicate with our families, friends, and loved ones. Open health-based dialogues, our actions, and the way in which we model well being is essential to our students’ wellness.
As stated by Susan Kaiser Greenland, an American author and teacher of mindfulness and meditation, “treat yourself as you aspire to treat others.” More likely than not, you make an effort to treat others with kindness, respect and understanding. How about you treat yourself the same way?
We look forward to a healthy holiday season and to new adventures in 2020!
Diane Sneider MEd,BSN,RN
Note: The winter months bring cold and flu viruses. Some tips to stay healthy: wash your hands often with soap and water, cough into your elbow, stay home if you are sick, hydrate with water and other electrolyte drinks, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, provide your body with sufficient sleep and nutrition.