It’s easy to get swept along with the wellbeing revolution, isn’t it? Being passionate about improving the lives of the people around me and being inspired by what other schools like Magna Carta (@cerasuteach) were achieving I got the bug about this time last year. I was gung ho and ready to transform my school overnight! Let's just say it's going a little slower than anticipated. So here are some tips for getting started and staying the course of your wellbeing journey.
Plan for the long run, prepare for tomorrow
Have a vision. What do you want wellbeing to look like at your school? Now with that vision in mind, rewind to the present moment. What small step can you take right now to make a start? Think small start, big finish. You’ll be surprised how quickly you inch forward moments at a time. Don’t let big ambitions get in the way of progress, no matter how small.
Pitching – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel
Next, you’ll need to get your SLT on board. Every school is different but you’ll need to find a way to present your ideas formally or informally. Change can be worrying. New ground can be more hassle than it's worth for a school. You can reassure a trepidatious SLT by explaining that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of schools running successful initiatives out there (as demonstrated by today’s digimeet). You can just cherry pick the bits which are best suited to your school.
Stay the course
My own wellbeing journey has not been what I expected. But I'm beginning to accept that's how it's meant to be. It took 9 months to pitch to SLT. The place we’re starting isn’t what I had in mind as the beginning. Every time I think there’s been a breakthrough we seem to hit another obstacle. But as I see it, this ensures the end result will be all the more robust. And whilst I was getting frustrated with the slow pace, what I started to notice was that just by talking about wellbeing, just by putting it on the agenda, people were starting to make links between what they were doing and how it impacted on wellbeing in school. Without trying too hard, people were starting to apply a wellbeing lens to their work. Most importantly, people were starting to recognise its importance and value. These are no small things and I have learned to take real encouragement in them.
Before I sign off, I’d also like to share a few things which have gone really well. Pearls, if you like, which you may or may not pick up and add to your own string.
Staff massage – We’ve invited a local holistic masseur into school twice a term. She works out of our health centre. The sign-up sheet goes in the staffroom for people to book 20 or 40 minute slots and they pay her directly on the day.
Our Young Enterprise company @Dynamic_201617 have created a wellbeing and mindfulness book which took them to the West Midlands finals. You can buy your own copy of the Little Book of You here.
Mental Health & Wellbeing Week. Get your cause in the calendar!
Soon to be introduced Mindfulness and Wellbeing lessons for Year 10 PSHE. Hopefully I'll be writing about how successful this has been in for next year's #wellbeingdgmeet!
For those moments of feeling like you'e the only one beating the drum, remember you are part of a huge network of likeminded people striving alongside you up and down the country and we're all here to cheer you on. The last thing to say is good luck. Good luck for a wonderfully frustrating journey. Welcome to the most exciting, empowering, gift giving area of school development! Welcome to the wellbeing revolution.