Governor Wellbeing – learning a new skill

As Governors, we know how important learning is to children.  We place a great deal of effort in holding leaders to account to ensure that children in our schools develop the right skills, knowledge and experience to help them achieve.

But, just as children in our schools need to learn, research shows that if we keep learning throughout adulthood and into later life, this can have a positive impact on maintaining and improving our mental health and wellbeing.

So, in today's short wellbeing blog, I look at this strand of the NHS' Five ways to wellbeing and how it helped me through a difficult phase in my career. And how I believe that learning a new skill can improve your governing.

Learning is good for our minds and our bodies – it's good for our mental wellbeing. But it's also associated with other benefits such as increasing self-esteem, giving us a purpose and helping us cope better with stress. 

In the back end of 2016, I had secured a place in the London Marathon - wow!; what an experience. 

There was a lot of training, and whilst I had been a runner for many years, I had to learn how to prepare my body (and mind) to run the distance.  I had regularly run eight miles, and at first, I naively thought, oh, it's only just over three times that - haha.  I soon learned that I needed to change my training, learn new techniques, and also adopt a different mindset to get me through.  So I read up about Tempo running and Intervals, Fartlek and Hill Repeats - and the dreaded WALL.

There's a lot of training needed for a Marathon and lots of hours pounding the streets, mainly alone.  At first, I'd just count as I was running, helping to keep the pace and implement the different techniques I spoke of above.  But as I became more practised and able to run further and for longer, my mind shifted, and I used the time then and still do today to create!

If I have a challenge or a problem that I need to think about, I take myself off for a run, and it usually works; just 30 minutes away from the desk can bring a whole new perspective. It's great for my wellbeing too!

And it was thanks to my training and my thoughts on that April day in London, that I created Shaping Governance.  It wasn't called this at the time, that came later, and that's a whole other story, but I think what I am trying to say is that by taking the time to focus on my wellbeing, a whole new world appeared, and I haven't looked back since.

So, take a little time to reflect on your wellbeing regularly.  At the end of the day, if you don't look after yourself, you can't support others.

Posted in Shaping Governance.