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What is Wellness?

Portrait of a beautiful young female with hands outstretched enjoying her freedomI have been thinking a lot about the word “wellness” lately, primarily because of the frequency of its use, but also because I often question the perspectives I encounter on achieving a sense of feeling well, and who is responsible for this process.

Wellness, a derivative of “well,” reflects “the condition of being healthy” and healthy is defined as being “in good physical or mental condition.”

For me, wellness isn’t about one thing: one program, one facility or a one-time event. Being well is achieved through a variety of things: physical exercise, healthy eating, sufficient sleep and, perhaps most important, a healthy, reflective mindset- in particular, a growth mindset.

I am a big believer in seeking out supports for help, and not being afraid to ask for assistance when needed; I think acknowledging needing help and asking for it are particularly important skills.

At St. Clement’s we are blessed with an environment that challenges our girls to stretch themselves academically and affords a range of opportunities for community engagement through athletics, arts, robotics and a variety of other co-curricular offerings. The parents, staff and girls who join our school community set high standards for themselves- they wish to do their very best. This results in a lot of like-minded people being in one place. While people may be like-minded in their expectations of themselves, it is also my belief that we cannot assume that one person’s approach to staying healthy and well will be the same as what might work for others. Vigorous fitness may be a great channel for some students, while practising mindfulness might be another’s. Some might find wellness in a leisurely walk outside, while for others escaping through reading might be of great benefit. At St. Clement’s, it is our belief that our role is to highlight the importance of being healthy, physically and mentally, and to expose our girls to a variety of approaches such that they can test and choose what works for them.

I was reminded of the importance of our not suggesting that wellness is supported in just one way as I watched our TWO student committee’s video about mental health– an awareness video for The Jack Ride for Mental Health. The questions our students asked reflected their understanding that each of us has a unique and personal approach to wellness.

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