Mental and physical wellbeing could not be more intertwined. Regular exercise, mindfulness and exposure to the outdoor environment are known as being crucial to developing creativity, aspirations, resilience and empathy and strong emotional wellbeing. Good physical health, promotes self-esteem and reduces the anxiety that can at times pervade teenage life. We know that we have to put on our own oxygen masks before we help others, so looking after our own wellbeing through improved self-awareness, and “self-likes” has been an important first step. Putney’s “culture of kindness” spreads throughout the school, from Opening Minds and Positive Playtimes in the Junior school to Diversity Week and the activities of Wellbeing Within for our Senior students.
Environmental factors can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. Fresh air, sunshine and greenery have a therapeutic effect, allowing us to calm our minds in ways that improve cognitive performance and stimulate us into better creative thinking. Our recent project in Biophilic design in the Sixth Form Centre has shown how good design and bringing the natural world into the classroom can not only enhance air quality and environment, but actively improve mood and focus in lessons.