I found myself having a moment over the weekend… the kind of moment that causes you to stop and reflect. I was sitting at my favourite café for the first time in months, the sun was shining and my dog was on my lap and my partner sitting across the table from me. It felt … Continued
A Meditation on Connection
Over the past few days I have, like many teachers and other school leaders, farewelled the Class of 2020, in this case, a group of respectful, kind, funny and service-oriented young men who had one of the most challenging final years as a cohort imaginable. They were farewelled fondly by their teachers and they then … Continued
What’s Your Personal Mantra?
My mother had this line she repeated over and over when I was growing up and letting little things bother me… In the whole scheme of life, it really doesn’t matter. At the time, it drove me nuts. I felt it was the most unempathetic response to what seemed like very real teenage tragedies like … Continued
How Are You Talking To Yourself?
In our last article on turning around difficult situations, we touched on the important concept of self-talk. Self-talk, or internal dialogue, represents the words we tell ourselves quietly as we move through life and just like the words spoken to us by the people around us, they have power and resonance. Young people and adults … Continued
How To Turn A Bad Situation Around
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are less than desirable – Hamlet called them the “slings and arrow of outrageous fortune”. Like Hamlet – sometimes these situations are of our own devising, and at other times the challenges that face us come from external sources and are outside of our control. Equally as frustrating … Continued
How To Master Your Habits For Success!
Have you got a bad habit you are keen to break? Need a few tips to “hack” yourself and the reasons we give ourselves for not doing things we know we are going to benefit from? Let’s face it – doing the right thing is an effort sometimes, and starting a new health kick or … Continued
How to Make the Most of the Loosening of Restrictions
Nowadays, when I talk to people about lockdown restrictions, the conversations take a decidedly exhausted turn. Although we all support each other and realise that this strategy has led to great results – nearly 11 weeks in lockdown is taking its toll on our Mental Health. And rightly so – it has made it harder … Continued
Why Do We Escape to Nature?
The wind in my hair, fresh air all around and time with my dog… I do enjoy starting my day with a walk. A little bit of exercise helps me wake up, and helps me feel like the day begins with doing something good for myself, and taking something off my list of things to … Continued
Courage and Determination
Covid19 has brought us many challenges this year, and at Berwick Grammar we have used our wellbeing themes to start conversations about the kind of habits, mindsets and tools we can use to bolster our wellbeing during periods of challenge. In Term 2, we embraced Humour as a way to lighten the difficult load, sharing … Continued
A Focus on Mental Health
“Isolation has really been tough on Mental Health, and has strained many.. and so for that reason we would like to try and make the next couple of weeks a bit easier by putting an emphasis on Mental Health. This just so happens to coincide with World Mental Health Week which starts on Monday” – … Continued
Many Ways to be Mindful!
We have talked a lot about the need for mindfulness on The Wellbeing Hive, encouraging our community to take time to be mindful every day – it is one of our daily habits we have been promoting. We also recently wrote about the benefits of quiet – on the brain and on your wellbeing. There … Continued
Supporting Your Child’s Return to School Again
The recent announcements from the State government gave us all the certainty we have been looking for in regards to students returning to school. Although I would argue we have all learnt many important lessons during the pandemic, the important role schools play in the lives of our children has never been clearer. Schools are … Continued
The Social Dilemma
Like many of you no doubt, I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix recently – and it tied in well with many of our recent Wellbeing Hive articles that addressed issues around technology, including one on gaming and one on the constant distraction our phones provide. But while both of these articles look at the … Continued
In A World of Distraction, Why Do We Need Quiet?
Of all the challenges of lockdown, the lack of quiet has been the greatest for me. As an introvert who enjoys quiet pursuits like reading, a noisy household and constant input and work on my computer has driven me mildly insane. My personal need for quiet and times without constant input has been one of … Continued
Understanding Your Child’s Gaming
Please note that much of the good advice in this article is informed by Manoush Zomorodi’s book, Bored and Brilliant. A recent article we published looked at bad habits, including spending too much time gaming – which met a need for status and accomplishment – a genuine human need. It referenced the work on … Continued
Confronting Our Negativity Bias
Recently I made a post on LinkedIn that sparked a lot of conversation – and serious debate. Many people took me up on the content of the post. But I was just referencing a known fact from science, and in fact quoting Dr Paige Williams’ book AntiFragile Leadership – because I thought it was a … Continued
Managing The Constant Distraction…
It is a difficult year to be in Year 12 – and we have covered this from many angles on the Wellbeing Hive, including dealing with uncertainty, and with the many rites of passage these students have missed out on. But how about the challenges of studying at home? Our Year 12 Students have been … Continued
Holidays in Lockdown
I have to admit that last Sunday was a difficult day. I’d finished all my work the day before, so it should have been a good day to relax and spend time with family… but all day I found it hard to get motivated. I was tired and wanted to sleep. I couldn’t decide what … Continued
What Do Our Girls Need Right Now?
Connection looks and sounds different for every girl, depending on their personality, interests and values (among many other factors); however, we know that effective connection occurs when they feel supported, encouraged and have a sense of meaning and purpose. What we also know is that some personalities need social connection more frequently than others; the … Continued
Fear as a Sign You Care?
On our screen free day recently, I promised my students I would spend some time reading a book I had seen recommended over and over again – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield is a writer who wants to encourage other artists of all kinds to do what it takes to be successful … Continued
Can You Make Friends With Negative Emotions?
There are many articles in this Wellbeing Hive about the challenges posed to us by COVID19, and the possible strategies to combat them – and here is another one! Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr Adam Fraser speak – Dr Fraser is a Human Performance Researcher who assists groups and individuals to … Continued
This week we mark RU OK Day – and I would argue that this has never been more important than it is this year – when so many of us have been challenged by the Coronavirus – the lockdowns, the economic struggles, the sense of uncertainty and more. While there are certainly some who are … Continued
Keys To Happiness?
I was privileged enough to listen to a presentation by prominent Australian Psychologist Hugh Mackay last week, discussing the keys to happiness in life – something I think we could all take a little bit of heart from hearing about right now. As we continue to navigate this lockdown world, I often talk about how … Continued
It is important to regularly offer students a screen free day – as we know that learning online presents different kinds of demands to face-to-face learning, and simple things like eye strain and staying seated in one room indoors mean that a break in this routine can benefit everyone. For the upcoming screen-free day at … Continued
Let’s Not Throw It All Away…
A few nights ago, I built my very first piece of Lego (pictured) – admittedly it was aimed at around ten-year-olds, but hey! I figure I have to start somewhere. And do you know what? I really enjoyed it. I am now adding enjoying Lego to the list of surprising things I have found out … Continued
What Does ‘Essential’ Mean Anyway?
Whilst working from home, I am trying to use many of my scheduled breaks for physical activity and getting into the fresh air. I have recently invested in a bike to ride in the local area… and it was on one of these admittedly still wobbly rides recently that I was able to notice just … Continued
Talking to Boys About Intimacy
Recently, I asked if I could run a Healthy Relationships session with some of the Senior Boys. This is not only a key part of our Futures curriculum at Berwick Grammar School, but a chance for me to have these kinds of conversations in a way that reflects many of the findings of my action … Continued
What Does Puzzling Teach You?
I may have mentioned a time or two recently that I discovered puzzles in the first lockdown. I mean, I always knew puzzles existed, but I didn’t know they would be a thing I enjoyed. They were long days stuck at home, trying to keep my partner’s two children entertained. Various trips to Kmart resulted … Continued
Why Trying New Things Is Still So Important
Last week, we encouraged all students who have been learning remotely all term, (i.e. students up to and including Year 9) to have a screen free day. Sometimes you just need a break from the metaphorical “square eyes” screens provide, and a break from the routine we have set for ourselves while staying at home. … Continued
Make Working From Home Work For You!
So we find ourselves once again, working and learning remotely – and with a level of uncertainty around for how long and how often this will occur. This can present a lot of challenges – some emotional, concerning missing everyday movement and the connection with peers, and others more practical, focused on balancing the challenges … Continued
Readers are Leaders – Can You Learn to Become a Better Reader?
In a recent article, I talked about reading as a part of my wellbeing puzzle, something I know I can escape to if I need a little bit of quiet mindfulness, or to escape what sometimes seems like a constant media onslaught of bad news. Reading is one of the five daily habits of the … Continued
Managing Some Hard Truths….
Many people I have spoken to, and much commentary in the media and in social media suggests that Melburnians are finding Lockdown 2.0 more difficult to manage than the first lockdown. Why you may ask? Perhaps we have all lost our innocence a little bit, lost the idea that if we all band together for … Continued
Adapting to an Unfamiliar World…
Just as we thought that everything was back on track and that we were starting to re-gain a sense of ‘normal’, we quickly found ourselves in Lockdown 2.0. Those few weeks of ‘normal’ now seem like a distant memory and a luxury we didn’t realise we had at the time. This new round of restrictions … Continued
A Model for Strengths-Based Mentoring
This is the final article on our series on Character Strengths, and the many opportunities they provide to work positively with young people. We have covered helping them understand their strengths, build on these, target new ones and helping them recognise when they may perhaps be using one inappropriately. The next and final step is … Continued
Introducing the Skodel Check-In Tool!
One of the biggest issues with remote learning for wellbeing staff is the sense that we lose that nuanced, daily interaction with our students. It becomes a little harder to judge how they are travelling without being able to see their facial expressions, to interact with them and read their body language. Because this is … Continued
Year 12 – Surviving the Coronacoaster
What a year to be in Year 12! While certainly there is the expectation of challenge in a “normal” final year of schooling, there are also a number of rites of passage students usually look forward to as well – getting their license, going to eighteenth birthday parties, valedictory dinners, senior study groups, prizes, formals … Continued
Your Wellbeing Puzzle
Today marks the first day of online learning for all Victorian students – and many families are in the process of figuring out exactly what these new restrictions mean for them – what it means for the family practically, financially and what it means for each individual as we get further and further away from … Continued
A Few Words From The Wellbeing Hive….
With the announcement yesterday that all students will be returning to remote learning, we at The Wellbeing Hive just wanted to take a few minutes to reassure families that we are here to support and provide ideas, resources and inspiration at this time. Yesterday’s announcements have implications for us all: For Year 12 students who … Continued
Smiling From Behind Your Mask
In the past week or so of the mandatory wearing of masks, I have heard a range of concerns from young people and adults in the community – some about comfort and breathability, some about their capacity to work wearing a mask (which seems to be worse for the vision impaired, who constantly have to … Continued
Hacking Your Morning Routine
Some days, don’t you just feel like you have woken up on the metaphorical wrong side of the bed? You feel tired and rushed and stressed and negative. But what if this wasn’t anything to do with how you got up, but what you did in the time after you got up? Many of the … Continued
Rediscover the Benefits of Board Games
Games are the most elevated forms of investigation – Einstein Many of you may remember a time when Monopoly, The Game of Life, Guess Who, Connect Four and a myriad of card games where something that occupied much of our free time. Nowadays we have so many more activities that can occupy our time, what … Continued
What Have We Learned About Workplace Wellbeing in COVID19?
All challenges are also opportunities for learning and growth, and the current COVID19 pandemic has been no exception. As families (or single people) we have all learned more about each other and ourselves, how to be with each other more and also respect each other’s unique space. We have asked ourselves what is truly important … Continued
How Do We Deal With The Uncertainty of the Coronavirus?
It’s now Lockdown 2.0 – and the period of remote learning, remote working and staying at home we experienced between March and May isn’t getting the opportunity to feel like a distant memory – it is all coming back to us. One of the particular challenges I believe of this second lockdown is that it … Continued
Why Should We Post Positive?
As Melbourne recently went back into another lockdown, and I looked at all the social media I encountered – frightened, scathing, angry and hopeless – I pledged to Post Positive during what I am now calling, Lockdown 2.0. Why might I do this? There are many reasons. Firstly, I am becoming increasingly concerned by many … Continued
The Dark Side of Character Strengths
Let me start this article by saying how much I love the VIA Character strengths and using them. They are incredibly positive and empowering. Our signature strengths come to us easily, so it is easy to use them no matter what the situation. We go for them immediately – that’s what makes them our signature … Continued
Online Learning…. Again!
The inevitable has happened, we are in lockdown. Our challenge from last term has come about again, online learning. As a parent I have experienced a wide range of emotions over the past week. Ranging for anxiety about going back into online, fear about how we are going to cope, anger at the careless people … Continued
How Does a Sense of Purpose Contribute to Our Lives?
In difficult times, such as the ones we collectively find ourselves in now, there are certain things that can help us as human beings. A good sense of humour is one – the capacity to laugh even when there might be tears. This is certainly why we chose humour as our wellbeing theme for Term … Continued
What Did We Learn About Managing From The Last Lockdown?
For some time now, the shadow of a return to Stage 3 restrictions has hovered over us – and now that they have been announced we might feel a mixture of relief – that we finally know what the future will hold and also sadness, that we must limit our lives and restrict our movements … Continued
How the Five Daily Habits Can Improve Your Day
I wasn’t having a great day today. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed and well outside of my comfort zone. I was stretched, grumpy and wanted to go back to bed. But I knew that I couldn’t – I knew I had to do something that would act like a “reset button” – something that … Continued
What Role Does Humour Play in our Wellbeing?
Each term Berwick Grammar School has a wellbeing theme – an idea we explore as a community that assists us to understand and build our wellbeing. Last term, when we spent much of our time working and learning remotely, that wellbeing theme was Humour. This may seem like an odd choice, but was in fact … Continued
How Do We Deal With the Possibility of Further Restrictions?
The recent announcement of restrictions increasing rather than continuing to decrease has caused mixed responses – and a lot of anxiety. Once again we are feeling afraid of COVID19, and wondering how we will cope with a return to the lifestyle we once had when working and learning from home. As many of you know, … Continued
Targeting Character Strengths
In our last Character Strengths article, we talked about building our character literacy and helping young people to see they had key positive qualities they could utilise to solve problems. This is a strategy that can help to build tremendous resilience and self-confidence. It also builds connection and helps young people feel seen and appreciated … Continued
What is the Ideal Holiday for a Senior Student?
Many have remarked that this term – where we have learnt remotely and then come back together as school communities, but with new routines and habits – has been “the longest term ever”. And with holidays of two or three weeks coming up, many senior students will be looking to recharge the batteries. And while … Continued
Why ‘Just Do It’ Is The Way To Go
Do you ever wonder how some people get so much done? Do you have lists of tasks to do that are never ending? Do you ever start off doing one chore/task/job and then get to the end of the day, have done seemingly a lot of things but never accomplished what you wanted? It seems … Continued
Why Do We Need a Men’s Health Week?
It’s Men’s Health Week this week – and at our Senior Boys campus this provides us with an opportunity to consider some vital issues facing young men today. As boys are natural problem solvers, and often less communicative than girls, it can be harder to recognise the issues that face them – but there are … Continued
Talking About Strengths
Recently we posted about character strengths as an important tool for positive conversations about who we are and what we have to draw on. Doing the VIA Character Strengths Survey will give you an idea of which characteristics you draw to the forefront and use most readily. We call these our signature strengths. You usually … Continued
Maintaining Your Mental Health
There are 5 facets to a healthy mental health lifestyle according to Bryan Jeffrey (2008). Sleep well Eat healthy food Get exercise Fresh air Sunlight All of these facets can appear to be easy, but in reality often we have to make effort to achieve these things. Sleep Sleep can be an ongoing problem, especially … Continued
The Temptation of Notifications…
You feel a slight vibration in your pocket. You hear a tiny ping. A little pop-up emerges on your screen… all of these tantalizing you to stop what you are doing, and check out the notification one of your devices has sent you. Is it a message? An email? A like? A comment? Something urgent? … Continued
Talking About Online Respect
One of the most challenging parenting spheres to navigate can be that of the online world. With young people engaging sometimes constantly with their peers, as well as others they don’t know – and well on platforms we may not be familiar with, it is natural that this is a space that causes some anxiety … Continued
Start Singing When You Are Up To Your Neck in Mud – Final Wisdom from Admiral McRaven
When things get hard, it is easy to give up. But if you can’t get the job done now, will you ever? There’s a beautiful story Admiral McRaven shares in the ninth and penultimate chapter of Make Your Bed. It starts at Hell Week in Navy Seal training – the toughest week of exercises and … Continued
Is It Time for Some Self-Care?
Although our community has returned to face-to-face schooling before many others have, the impact of this change in our routine may still be with us. Sending our children back to school may be a good opportunity to take stock of how we have weathered the last few months. When we are caring for others we … Continued
A Case for Character Strengths
The Father of Positive Psychology, Professor Martin Seligman hypothesized that it wasn’t enough to ensure individual wellbeing if we only built wellbeing when times are difficult. We all need extra help in times that demand resilience, however, to really FLOURISH, we need to build our wellbeing at all times to equip us with the coping … Continued
Don’t Back Down from the Sharks – More Advice From Admiral McRaven
Admiral McRaven has dealt with plenty of sharks in his time – real and metaphorical. As a Navy Seal in training, he had to complete night swims through waters he knew might have sharks in them – and he had to find the courage and the determination to let his desire to be a Seal … Continued
Asking for help…
Asking for help is a challenging concept. It means that you have to acknowledge that you aren’t coping, which is a big thing – for both adults and young people. Often we can have the misconception that it is ‘weak’ to ask for help, when actually it takes a lot of strength and courage to … Continued
What Happened to Ms/Mr Independent?
One of the things many of us may have had to sacrifice at this time is a sense of personal space and independence – that quiet time to do things on our own and to do things for ourselves. Parents and teachers who once went to work each day and enjoyed a different routine, some … Continued
Take Time Out From Each Other
As our time in isolation grows closer to an end, strangely we might actually find ourselves more tense with members of our family, as we imagine being able to have our own space again. We all love our family, but being around each other constantly can increase tensions. We can easily get sick of each … Continued
Returning to Face-to-Face Learning
Throughout this challenging time of online/distance learning, most families will have fallen into a new, different routine. For many families this most likely will have meant getting up slightly later, sometimes staying in pyjamas, eating at different times of the day, eating different food with constant access to a kitchen, and having more screen time, … Continued
Don’t Be Afraid of The Circus – More McRaven Wisdom
What is ‘The Circus’ you might ask, and why would I be afraid of it? The fifth of McRaven’s lessons talks about failure. As a Navy Seal in training, if you and your swim buddy finished last in a swim leg, you got sent to ‘The Circus’ – extra training for those who aren’t cutting … Continued
Down Time vs Projects
Some of us have found ourselves with additional time while we are socially distancing – time we would normally spend travelling to work or school, or with friends or on other clubs and activities. This has led to many of us undertaking “isolation projects” – everything from baking sourdough bread to painting up a storm … Continued
When The Dust Settles…
In times of uncertainty we often go into ‘doing’ mode when the crisis hits. This is the process of protecting ourselves and our families, making things work. This can mean that we aren’t thinking about the long term implications of what is coming. In some ways, the immediate crisis has now passed. Restrictions are being … Continued
How a Personal Project Might Improve Your Wellbeing
Personal Projects are an incredibly important way of thriving at this time when our lives have changed in so many ways, and the busyness we are all used to has melted away… leaving us with perhaps more time on a daily basis. How do you want to use it? I want to use whatever extra … Continued
Is it Normal? Recognising the Emotional Needs in Young People
Have you noticed your child engaging in some ‘out of character’ behaviour lately? Do they appear more stressed, anxious, or irritable? It is normal for all children and young people to experience a range of emotions, particularly during times of increased stress. We are currently in a time where sudden changes to routine and looking … Continued
Find Someone to Help You Paddle
As promised, we are following up with many of Admiral McRaven’s key lessons, and will post a new one each week. The second lesson Admiral William H. McRaven discussed in his book and what is colloquially known as the ‘Make Your Bed’ Speech was – if you want to change the world, find someone to … Continued
Might We Be Better Off In Some Ways for COVID19?
Recently I was fortunate enough to hear Dr Lea Water speak in regards to COVID19, and she referenced some particularly interesting research from Virginia Satir, an American author and therapist who studied our response to unexpected trauma. It is natural to be going on an emotional journey at the moment – and many families will … Continued
Curiosity – A Wellbeing Element?
Curiosity comes from the Latin “to care” , meaning to care enough to ask real questions… As one of our school values, curiosity is one of the nine facets of the Wellbeing Hive. Why would curiosity be a wellbeing element? This is an interesting place to start. Like many of you, I grew up watching … Continued
Balancing Work, Your Child’s Education and Parenting
We are experiencing for the first time in living memory a time of unsafety. The difficulty of how to balance our lives is very real. As parents we are pulled in many directions at the same time. For many of us work is a time for us to recharge, getting the social interaction that may … Continued
Give Yourself a Break – Literally!
Checking in with my Year 12 students is as much a pleasure as it is a part of my job – and a privilege to speak so openly and candidly with these wonderful young men about the challenges (and surprising benefits) of learning online. One of the biggest challenges many reported to me in the … Continued
If You Want to Change The World, Start by Making Your Bed
Both the Senior Boys and Girls would be familiar with this video which Dr Middleton has discussed at assemblies: In it, Admiral William McRaven talks about the lessons he learned as a Navy Seal that easily translate to success in real life. He gave this as the commencement speech for the graduating class of the … Continued
Tips for Parents During COVID19
Recently, a number of staff across the school accessed a session by two of Australia’s leading thinkers on the teenage mind – Dr Tim Hawkes and Professor Michael Carr-Gregg. The session focused around how to support senior students during this period whereby the Year 12 they expected, is looking very different to the year that … Continued
Make Your Mindful Moment a Grateful One
Of all the 9 facets of the Wellbeing Hive, the practice of mindfulness may seem the biggest challenge for some families and young people. People often confuse the term ‘mindfulness’ with meditation, which is a particularly deep and enriching mindfulness practice – but will not resonate for everyone. It is worth a try at some … Continued
Message for Year 12 Students During COVID19
So, your Year 12 year is not quite what you expected… in fact, it looks nothing like you expected. The milestones you prepared for and the learning experiences you have spent years looking forward to are suddenly looking rather unlikely. It is okay to admit to being vulnerable, confused or disappointed at this time. But … Continued
How to Thrive With the Wellbeing Hive
We are presented today with challenging times – and also so much to be grateful for. While our ancestors were called to war and lived through the depression, we are being asked to stay in our homes and isolate ourselves as best we can. In the modern world, this is a difficult task but not … Continued