This coming week is Children’s Mental Health week and so we will be focussing all week in tutor time and assembly on strategies to build up and strengthen the mental health of the pupils in our school. The theme of the week this year is ‘Express Yourself’ and how being expressive can enable us to thrive as individuals with good mental health. Expression can take so many forms but all have, at their core, some element of creativity. This can be movement, dance, singing, playing an instrument, photography, sketching, painting, dressing differently or writing stories (this is absolutely not an exhaustive list!). I know from my own experience that when I take opportunities to be creative and expressive I build resilience and improve my mental health no end.
I took the opportunity this morning to remind the children (and anyone else listening) that we all have mental health...for all of us this is not fixed but is instead in a state of flux. What we do each day has the potential to improve or damage our mental health and so it is vital to be aware of the state of our mental health and take positive steps to improve it when we can.
I’m not ashamed to admit that it feels hard at the moment to stay positive and in good health mentally. I am most definitely struggling with this lockdown and the weather and dark mornings are not helping one bit. My strategy for improving the situation includes all the usuals of connecting with friends, laughing loudly and often, taking plenty of exercise, limiting screen time as much as possible and getting plenty of rest. However, increasingly it also includes finding opportunities for self expression - my most recent discovery has been warming down after each evening run by dancing on the driveway with my headphones on to a couple of tracks before heading indoors - they do say, dance like nobody's watching…
I suggest you try it!
John F Gilmour