As somebody who has been in the wellness/teaching/coaching field for over 30 years, I've witnessed the positive impact that all types of wellness can have. Simply put, "The Power of Wellness" should be a part of our educational system. As we look back over the 2020 year, it has forced, (in the right way) schools and districts to evaluate how they implement wellness into students and staff's daily lives. I mean, think about it; who wouldn't want students, staff, and even the community to embrace the benefits of feeling better? More importantly, implementing positive habits into a class or school is easy, fun, and will add perks that go far beyond academics. Let's take a look at some great benefits!
Start with positivity! - Wellness isn't just about physical activity. Energizing schools with positivity, hope, and encouragement is always a win/win. Students and staff not only get their morale boosted, but they also pass it on to everyone. If you don't believe that, think about those times when you felt positive about your job. It does work!
It's a huge team builder! - As of this writing, I'm right in the middle of a weight loss challenge! The funny thing is, I'm not trying to lose any weight! But I do want to support my colleagues in their journey. Wellness, no matter what form it takes, can be a great way to bring people together. So many schools do nutrition and physical challenges that enhance the social interactions of communities.
Anyone can start it up! - Even though many Health and Physical Education teachers take the lead on initiatives around wellness, most of the time, it's those outside my field who have led the charge. That's because there are no pre-requisites for bringing wellness into our schools. All you need is an idea, some passion, a little support, and usually, things get rolling from there.
Talk about the whole person! There used to be a time when people generally thought about wellness solely regarding weight loss or exercise. Those times are gone! Wellness, both in and out of schools, is about the whole person. I've taught and been part of sessions that deal with: confident building students, teaching yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and many other ideas that go far beyond just food and movement.
It's real-life in motion! - I've preached hundreds of times that wellness is real. No matter which parts you work on, the gains you, your students, and colleagues will make improve lives. So often in education, data is the driver of growth. The data behind wellness in schools is precise; it improves lives!
As we wrap up, I did want to mention a few caveats to get people started. These are by no means meant as all-inclusive, but relatively simple ideas that I've learned about.
Aim small and manageable! - As I think back on all the wellness initiatives I've been involved with, a few things always come to mind. The ones that were/are most successful start small and are easy to implement. Whether it's a physical challenge, nutrition-based, informational in nature, or community building, starting with a pie-in-the-sky mentality will usually fail. People need to see results quickly and know their time is valuable. Starting small will make that happen!
Avoid the do it alone model! - Yes, it often takes one person with an idea to get something going. But to keep things rolling, you must have others involved. Building a cohort of like-minded people is guaranteed work better than when you go it alone. Plus, it causes a web, where more and more people jump on board.
I wish you luck on whatever journey you decide to start. Know that the results will be worth it and that you'll be impacting lives in meaningful ways. "The Power of Wellness" is one of the very best ways to create a unique space for students, staff, and the community. Please feel free to connect with me for any questions or advice you may need.