In his book Live More Happy, Dr Darren Morton writes about how our wellbeing is influenced by our daily choices and habits. This week has been a special focus on wellbeing as the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health of our students and staff is a priority in our school.
As Adventist educators we believe in the health of the whole individual and this week we celebrated our first Wellbeing Week – an event that will now be an annual part of our school life.
This week was made possible due to a government funding grant and I would like to thank Pr Hope and Mrs Jensen for their leadership in implementing a very positive week, culminating in a free picnic breakfast.
As Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” This is my desire for our school community – to be well and to be resilient in body and mind. Keep safe and God bless you.
Mrs Julia Heise
This week Mountain View Adventist College launched the inaugural Wellbeing Week. It was exciting to have something to look forward too at school after having a very unsettled start to the year.
The Wellbeing 5’s framed the key messages shared each day; Connect, Be Active, Be Aware, Keep Learning and Help Others. These messages were conveyed through worship videos, lunch time games, the chill out room, stretching exercises, big games, the fruit shack and the breakfast picnic. The focus of the Wednesday Chapel programs had Pastor Landry challenge us to be like Jesus who was physically present among his people when he was on earth and attended to their needs, whether it be their physical, spiritual or emotional wellbeing.
Each day parent videos were posted on the MVAC Community Facebook page to help continue the conversations at home as a family. Students were encouraged each day to do something that contributed to their wellbeing. Staff and teachers were also encouraged each morning in worship to follow the Wellbeing 5’s.
I am excited to see what is going to happen as we continue to raise awareness about Wellbeing in our school community.
Mrs Rontania Jensen
Last October I arrived back in Australia from the Yr 11 Mission Trip. Upon arrival home I was struck down with a nasty tropical disease Dengue Fever from a pesky mosquito bite. I consequently spent about one and a half weeks in bed sick, really sick. It has taken about 6-9 months to get my health 100% in order. I learnt some valuable lessons from this experience. Don’t travel to Fiji without mosquito repellent but more importantly DON’T TAKE YOUR HEALTH FOR GRANTED!!!
We all assume including myself that our health and bodies are unbreakable, capable of taking anything we throw at them or put into them and also that our bodies do not need any maintenance or rest. But the truth is all of us need to be aware that small choices either positive or negative do make a huge difference in the end to our overall wellbeing.
The last 6 months our lives have been a rollercoaster of an experience due to COVID-19. Whether you are working, studying or in a caring role we have all experienced a perspective change in a number of areas of our lives socially, spiritually etc. and hopefully with your health and lifestyle observing the devastation that has occurred in Australia and more so around the world. If my experience of contracting Dengue fever has taught me nothing else, it is that you need to get your house in order before the storm arrives.
One of key areas we can look to improve our overall wellbeing is through an active lifestyle. Science has proven this through multiple studies over and over again throughout an individual’s life span. Some of these benefits include stronger muscles and bones, leaner bodies, less risk of becoming overweight, a lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and finally a better outlook on life (mental health).
Before this sounds like another lecture from a PE teacher can I encourage you to look at this through the eyes of children. Some of the happiest memories of my childhood was not sedentary activities such as movies, or video games but rather being active playing a game, climbing a tree or riding a bike. One of favourite observations as a PE teacher is to see students experience this joy.
Here are some of my tips to help you find this joy.
• Pick a variety of age-appropriate activities and get moving. Eg. skipping, handball or basketball
• Set a regular schedule for physical activity. eg Rugby League team
• Make being active a part of your daily life, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Be active so you can be a positive role model for your family and friends.
• Be active together as a family or with your friends.
• Keep it fun – Don’t make it a chore.
• Find something you enjoy and develop this skill. Eg. Ten Pin Bowling or Bush walking or Sport.
• The social side of physical activity is just as important as competing.
Can I encourage you where ever you are on your wellbeing journey to take a step forward through an active lifestyle. Be that light to encourage your friends and family members to choose activity over sedentary choices which will ultimately lead to a longer, happier and more fulfilling life. Be encouraged by the following bible verse:
Romans 12:1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. (The Message)
Spiritual wellness recognises our search for a deeper meaning in life, so it should not be a surprise that our spiritual health depends on our connection to God, who provides the meaning to our life. When our relationship with God is strong, we can experience a greater sense of purpose and feel more spiritually satisfied.
God, in return, wants us to live our best life. In Psalms 23, King David notes that it is the Lord who both leads us to still waters and restores our soul. God desires that we live our best life, and He is actively working towards that purpose. However, our personal response to Him is essential. In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul counsels us to submit everything to God in prayer. We are encouraged to put our faith and trust in the Creator of the universe, and as a result, the Bible promises that “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds”(Phil 4:7). We worship a God who wants us to experience well-being in every aspect of our lives.
In today’s society, many recognise the need for spiritual well-being, and yet trying to achieve spiritual wellness by our effort alone can be incredibly difficult. It is not uncommon for a person to spend hours, money, and energy on improving their own spiritual health, and yet the scriptures provide a much simpler model to grow our spiritual life. God offers us spiritual health, and the decision to accept it is left to us.
Research reveals that at the heart of every thriving relationship is good communication. Whether the relationship is between couples, parents and their children, family members or friendship circles, good communication is the glue that forms strong healthy connections (Gottman & DeClaire , 2001).
Communication is not only talking as many of us may think, it also includes non-verbal expressions such as our body language. Whatever form it may be, it is important to consider a few things:
Right Timing- Finding the right time to talk is essential for effective communication. If you are trying to discuss something important when the other person is busy, distracted, tired or stressed, you can all most guarantee that what you are trying get across will either not be heard, not taken seriously or result in a non-productive response. If this is your experience, try scheduling a time to talk, one free of distractions (no phones or devices) and one where you will not be interrupted.
Check your body language- Have you ever heard the saying; actions speak louder than words? If so it’s important to check your body language. Set up for the conversation by being close enough to hear properly, keep eye-contact and ensure that your facial expressions are gentle and inviting of honest conversation.
Do Not Attack- The ‘Do Not Attack’ mindset is easily overlooked yet extremely necessary when trying to build a thriving relationship. I think everyone either knows what it is like to be ‘barked’ at or you maybe have been the ‘barker’ at one time or another. It doesn’t feel good does it? Along-side right timing, choosing a Do Not Attack mindset is the power behind having successful conversations. Try using “I” or We’ statements when you talk such as “I feel like when we are fighting that makes us both upset”. Another example could be “because we are both so busy, I feel lonely or sad not connecting with you”.
Time-out- Lastly, if you are angry or frustrated, take time out. Choose an appropriate time to come back to the conversation when you are calmer. It could be anything from 20 mins or 24 hours, just agree on the time and respect it. This also works well parents for having discussions with your child/ young person.
Gottman, J. M., & DeClaire , J. (2001). The Relationship Cure. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Wellbeing Week Pictures