This time the blog returns to Alison Saunders. She writes (during half term) about the benefits of wellbeing and the importance of sleep:
So it is half term; half way through this academic year. Of course this whole notion is one obviously only associated with school children, teachers and parents. Not people with “real jobs” or so they say. However working in a school is intense and sometimes I wish we as teachers, worked less hours a week and had less holidays. I know this is not a popular thought! However here I am on half term and enjoying the change of pace. In fact, my husband was most fortunate again to be awarded a scholarship to return to Los Angeles to study, so I am in warmer climes working and sightseeing.
I have always been naturally curious, some say nosey! Not the curiosity that wants to know how things work and this then tends to involve a lot of dismantling items. (My mother in law tells me that was my husband as a child and this led to all sorts of incidents)! No, I am more of the books, travel and outdoors type. So half term is an ideal way to satisfy this curiosity albeit at home or away. And so we talk about re-charging our batteries. Wellbeing is on everyone’s lips and you can imagine there is a large industry associated with this here in California, from juice and whole food bars to gyms, and yoga tights (yes, all very casual dress). However what delights in being able to swim in the sea, ski in the mountains and trek in the desert, all in one state, at the same time of year!
Lucy Parsons, the author of “The ten step guide to acing every exam you ever take” writes about how wellbeing is key when taking exams. She speaks of students needing a “strong foundation”:
- A decent amount of sleep every night
- Nutritious food
- Regular exercise
- Time to relax and re-charge
“I’ve heard of students falling asleep at 2am with the television on in their bedrooms and waking up a handful of hours later with the television still on. I’ve heard of Year 10 pupils who never get more than six hours sleep in a night. What makes me incredibly sad is that these teachers, who pour their hearts and souls into helping these children get the grades they’re predicted, are fighting a losing battle.
I would suggest that we start to educate students about the importance of sleep, how much they should be getting and how to cultivate healthy sleep habits. However, young people can only do so much without the support of their parents. So, schools should be setting clear expectations about what a healthy lifestyle looks like outside school, in order to support the learning that goes on inside school.”
Wellbeing is not something that others do to you- we emphasise in school that it is about taking responsibility for yourself. Young people however need good role models; they need parents and teachers who not only take those four things seriously but also can explain why they are so important to adhere to, for a happy successful healthy life.
Indeed, life for so many people is stressful and challenging. However, we cannot avoid stress nor should we choose the easy way. It is how we cope with life and enjoy it, which makes the difference. Be curious, keep learning, follow your passion, eat well and get good sleep. Hopefully I am now re-charged and ready for the time ahead!