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Please enjoy reading Miss Vassiliou's Thought for the Term

Posted on: 17/07/2020


Have you ever stopped to think about the power of the little words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’? Despite their diminutive stature, they can have far-reaching consequences. Just ask someone who has said ‘yes’ to a marriage proposal, a job offer or a university place. Or ‘no’ to the opportunity to try something new, go on a holiday or go to the party that everyone else went to.

‘Yes’ and ‘No’ have powerful significance.

Sometimes, in order to exercise self-care, you have to use both of them. Let me give you some examples.

During the lockdown, one of the things that has kept me sane has been exercise. Many of you will know that I compete fairly regularly in karate and when the opportunity arose to participate in some online karate competitions, with athletes from all over the world, I had a choice: yes or no. Yes would be a sacrifice. It would mean training hard every day and doing something I had never done before: entering competitions via video entry. My decision to say ‘yes’ to this experience was one of the best things I have ever done! It has given me the opportunity to compete at the highest level and against amazing athletes from Italy, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, South Africa, Chile and all over the world. This has enabled me to exercise self-care, because it has given me a focus during the lockdown – as well as trying to make sure that my students are being well-taught and well-supported at home – which has been really good for my health and well-being.

At another point during the lockdown, a friend asked me to break the lockdown rules, by coming to stay in her house to keep her cat company, while she went away to visit her mum for a few days. This made me feel very uncomfortable. I desperately wanted to help her and her cat is incredibly cute! But I knew it was against government advice, so I had to do the right thing and say ‘no’. Again, this was a sacrifice – I didn’t want to let down my friend or upset her – but I knew that, in this situation, it would be wrong to say ‘yes’. So, in an attitude of self-care, I said, sorry, but no.

As the lockdown measures gradually ease off, you may well be in a situation where you face a choice. Friends may ask you to do something you’re not comfortable with. Remember that you have the power to use ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in a way that is best for your self-care. If they are really friends, they will understand (as my friend did) when you have to say ‘no’. Sometimes we feel pressured into thinking we should say ‘yes’, for all sorts of reasons. But if you know that it’s better for you to say no, then don’t be afraid to use it.

And when those opportunities come that excite you and that you know would benefit your self-care, then don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’! They may require some commitment, dedication, hard work and even sacrifice, but if your heart tells you it’s worth it, then go for it. That’s what so many of you have already done during the school closure, by applying for leadership roles in school, taking part in House competitions and choosing to prioritise your school work, even in such difficult circumstances. These ‘Yesses’ will have wonderful long-term consequences.

So, as we approach the summer, make your decisions wisely. Remember that ‘yes’ and ‘no’ have the power to change the direction of your future, so choose what is best for your self-care and well-being.

Have a wonderful summer holiday!

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