22 February 2021
Bestselling author, Holly Bourne, encouraged pupils to reap the mental health benefits of getting creative when she launched the Body, Mind & Soul Day at Sydenham High School, GDST.
The critically acclaimed author gave a powerful talk on positive mental health to the Senior School for the special off-timetable day of enrichment. Holly spoke to students about the importance of understanding the context behind your feelings as well as how you can feel a sense of belonging through reading a good book. In a period of such uncertainty, she also reminded everyone that it’s ok to sit with our feelings for a while, as a key part of the human experience, as well as the value in looking after ourselves, getting enough sleep and being active. Holly closed her presentation with a call to action for Body, Mind & Soul Day for students to find their purpose, find what makes their soul shine and the power of losing oneself in creativity.
Pastoral education at Sydenham is second to none and The Body, Mind & Soul Day was masterminded by staff as a way of encouraging all students to look after both their mental and physical health.
Taking its name from the co-curricular programme at school, the Body, Mind & Soul day was an opportunity for students to develop new skills, take part in fun activities and learn in a different way, outside the classroom but crucially, away from their screens. Members of staff led sessions categorised into the three strands, showcasing their own passions from HIIT to Cryptography, stress ball making to letter writing. There was even a chance to learn how to change a bike’s inner tube and teach your dog a new skill, whilst others opted for meditation and happiness bullet journals. Pupils chose their sessions for the day, and commented that “it was so lovely to have a day to just to slow down, reflect and gather our thoughts”, [Caroline] making the time to focus on something other than school work: “A really refreshing day and break from the seemingly never-ending lock down life.” [Tiger] Staff also benefited: “having the opportunity to share something that I enjoy and find relaxing with the students was also an amazing opportunity and allowed me to connect with a group of students I don’t always get the chance to teach” [Head of Sixth Form]
The final session of the day was devoted to GDST Gets Active and pupils were encouraged to clock up those km to increase the Sydenham High school total as well as, of course, getting some much-needed fresh air.