Headteacher’s Blog

A healthy body and a healthy mind

In these difficult times I hope you are all safe. Schools are now of course changing their focus on a daily basis, and we are now offering support and care to the children of key workers, as well as providing continuity of education for the rest of the school community. I would like to thank everyone in the YGC community for making this possible, and would like to thank all the key workers for their hard work in such challenging times. I here wish to reiterate the latest and constant advice from Public Health Wales:

The single most important action we can all take in fighting Coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS, and save lives.

We know that staying at home can be hard, and we want to thank each and every person across Wales for doing their bit to help slow the spread of the virus.

In my first blog this week, I mentioned the importance of having balance in life right now; and during this period of staying at home it is important that we have structure and balance to our day.

Firstly, I would like to stress the importance of exercise and fresh air. I encourage my own mother, in her eighties, to walk the path in her back garden daily. I also push my teenage children to do more than one exercise a day – one in the fresh air and the other in the house. There are so many platforms now promoting responsible exercise. Whatever your age, use these to help you. Rae Carpenter is on the Ffit Cymru Youtube channel at 9 o’clock every weekday morning hosting an excellent session. Of course, I can’t conclude about fitness at home without mentioning the extremely popular Joe Wicks. These sessions on The Body Coach’s Youtube channel are currently receiving exceptional attention, with over 2 million followers. Personally, I am fortunate at the moment to be able to dedicate a short time every evening to be on my bike, thus promoting my physical and mental well-being. But whatever your platform, whatever your level of fitness, remember that being physically active and getting fresh air is a priority – and of course, doing so responsibly and safely.

But just as physical exercise is important at this stage, exercising the brain is also key, and not just for work and school work. I therefore encourage everyone, whatever our age, to be cognitively active as well as physically active. And for me, without sounding outdated, there is one obvious activity that we could all do in terms of mental stimulation – and that is reading. During this unprecedented period, a large number of people now have time on their hands that can be dedicated, without a digital device, to reading and relaxation. This will be beneficial for the brain and for relaxation. Personally, I love the feel of books, their look, even their smell! But I am also very guilty of buying books and then neglecting them and leaving them unread because of the demands of our usual busy life. This is the golden opportunity to revisit those unread books on the shelves or gathering dust on the coffee table. Therefore, it would certainly be beneficial, mentally and in terms of relaxation, for us all to set aside time each day to read for pleasure.

And in a balanced and structured programme – with quite different Easter holidays on the horizon – there is nothing wrong with binging on a few movies or a series on Netflix either. As a child, I didn’t agree when my parents were preaching that moderation in all things was the key. But I now see that their words are absolutely true at a time like this.

Therefore, in the midst of your well-organised programme and moderation, make sure you dedicate enough time to your physical and mental well-being. Go for it – exercise and read! Above all – be responsible, be safe.

Gwyn Tudur