Put the muffins down……
When I go into schools and ask what opportunities staff have to debrief, connect and share stories with each other, more often than not, they say this happens at the weekly staff meetings. This is not only where information is shared but so is food. Some people have time to cook but most of us just grab a packet of biscuits, muffins, donuts or some fruit. Now don’t get me wrong I like muffins, cakes and biscuits like anyone else, but lets think about the impact this is having on our wellbeing.
Wellbeing isn’t developed with one off actions but small healthy habits that are repeated daily. If we want to support teacher wellbeing lets start with some basics…… nutrition and exercise.
Before you roll your eyes at me, think about how much energy you exert in a day or week. Now think about how you place this energy? Just like fuel in a car, if we put junk in it, it may run, but it will be sluggish. Now I’m not advocating that we be extreme and cut all the good stuff out, I’m just asking you to more mindful of the health decisions you are making with food and exercise, and think about what opportunities you have at your school to support healthy habits for teachers.
This is important because teacher stress is high, and stress can often lead to poor health decisions. These decisions only exacerbate the problem of poor teacher wellbeing. Teacher wellbeing means providing opportunities for teachers to choose healthy habits that are repeated daily. This could include a morning yoga class, meditations or simple stretching in staff meetings and healthy food options. Below are some online tools to help you build healthier habits at your school.
1. Fitbit – Did you know you can create a faculty or school challenge where people can compare themselves weekly or monthly? When we have a community of people around us we are more likely to maintain healthy habits. Of course there are many other varieties of fitness trackers out there, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, any version is a great motivator.
2. MyFitnessPal – This is another great app. What I love about this is it’s not about measuring calories, it encourages you to be mindful of what you are eating and it can map your energy in and energy out.
2. 28 by Sam Wood – This is a great online program where Sam takes you through 28 minutes of exercise every day (great variety too), and also offers great, simple and tasty recipes. It costs money but much cheaper than a gym, and it doesn’t really on the PE faculty having to come in a take a morning class, you can just put Sam up on the a smart board and staff can choose to join in or not.
3. Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar Recipes – Did you know sugar is now known to be one of the biggest reasons for excess weight, yet we as teachers will often have sugar on our desk, in the staffroom and at morning tea. I you havnet seen “That Sugar Film” I highly recommend it. In the mean time here are some simple and easy no-sugar recipes.
3. Yoga.com – There are many great yoga apps for you to try. You can choose 10min or 50min sessions. All trials are free and can operate through any IT devices. Perhaps you could start a weekly session at your school.
4. Mindfulness apps – You have probably all heard of Smiling Mind which I highly recommend but here are 5 other free apps that are popular.
I look forward to hearing what healthy habits you start implementing at your school.
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