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Dr Khan's Thought for the Term

Posted on: 17/09/2021

Keep calm and commit to yourself

With each start to a new school year, I begin a whole host of commitments to different things: learning more, reading more, writing more, being more efficient, more organised, more productive; it’s a long list of ‘mores’ that I want to keep improving on each year. This year, I am adding something new to the list – my commitment to look after my wellbeing and seeking joy wherever possible. The context to this is rather self-evident, of course, and after the strangeness of the past 18 months or so I am convinced that we must seek joy in the little things, wherever and whenever possible. While this sounds wonderful, you might be wondering how I will go about making this change and I have a few thoughts for you:

1. Be mindful: try to stay in the present moment a few times every day. I do this very consciously now and it’s helpful especially if you are feeling overwhelmed with lots to do. It’s important to anchor yourself in the ‘now’ and leave the past and the future alone for a few moments to remind yourself how perfectly peaceful and wonderful the present moment is. It works!

2. Befriend nature: the delightful thing about nature is that it is constant and reliable, ready for you to enjoy whenever you wish. Whether it’s a long walk along a familiar route, a more adventurous hike somewhere new, or just sitting in the outdoors soaking the autumnal sunshine, nature has the power to refresh us and fill us with renewed hope.

3. Lose yourself in a book: I know as schools we are meant to encourage you to read, but I am sure many of you will recognise the amazing ability of a book to transport us into marvellous new worlds and there is certainly good reason why they are called “uniquely portable magic”. Reading new books and revisiting old favourites are highly recommended as ways to add more joy to our lives anytime we like.

4. Do a little more of what you love: for me, this is baking at home, with Classic FM playing in the background, and nothing to rush me – you will no doubt have your own ways to indulge your favourite hobbies. It’s important to be productive, but there is a time to slow down and luxuriate in the activities we find joyous.

5. Keep connected: you don’t even have to be an expert in well-being to know this, but staying connected with each other, showing and seeking empathy, and finding time to relax with the people we love is incredibly powerful. Often, a small gesture of kindness on our part can make a big difference to someone else’s day. That is a beautiful thing to know, isn’t it? So there we are: that is my commitment to myself this year and if I have helped to recognise the importance of looking after yourself in some small way too, even better!

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