This is the final Wellbeing Blog of the term and it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to write it before I depart for pastures new, after nearly 7 years here at Marlborough College Malaysia. I have to admit that I used to be rather ‘old school’ in my views about Wellbeing and it has been excellent to have had the drive and impetus brought to the project by Mr. Cowie and Miss Trif; they are both excellent and have opened my eyes to the importance of this. Wellbeing – or being well – is of course a very natural aim for all of us. Often we associate particular activities – or abstentions – with wellbeing, and to a greater or lesser degree, these require a level of self-discipline, whether it be regular exercise, mindful practice, or eating healthily. In the busy lives that many of us within this community live, sometimes this discipline can be difficult to achieve and maintain. Without a doubt, building the understanding and resilience in young people, so that this is more achievable as they get older, is both worthwhile and important. Against that backdrop, I do not intend to write a piece that preaches to the converted about the benefits of meditation, yoga, or whatever it might be (though after trying 10 sessions of yoga alongside my wife last summer, I discovered that I could touch my toes, without bending my legs, for the first time since I was a teenager – so there is something in it!) but rather I aim to share three simple ideas that can make a difference to ‘being well’, from someone who lacks the discipline to follow more traditional practices.
Take 10 minutes in your day to focus on the amazing natural wonders around you.
This is of course very easy when on holiday in a beautiful environment, whether it might be on a beach, or in a national park. Even during a normal working day, however, this is nearly always possible. Perhaps take 10 minutes on a clear night to observe the wonders of the universe; see the bright moon and the sparkling light emitted from Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter. Use an App to map the night sky and take time to reflect on our palace in this amazing world. If you’ve had a bad day at work, think about this against the perspective of the vastness of all that is around us. What’s the worst that can happen?
Plan and cook a delicious meal and enjoy it with your family at least once a week and, preferably, involve your children in the cooking process.
I have always been a very keen cook and for me, there is no better antidote to any pressure one might be feeling, than preparing a meal with the family. I have tried, with some success at various points, to instil this joy of good food in my children. Tobias, my son, is now a seasoned steak chef and his authentic Italian ragu sauce is also pretty good. Imogen, my daughter, has treated us to homemade Sushi and some delicious Korean food on occasion and, as something of a traditionalist, I try hard to keep alive the institution of the Sunday roast. The wonderful thing about cooking is the creative process and how it requires a level of concentration and enjoyment that means that one can ‘live in the moment.’ The pleasure that then comes with sharing the meal and talking with family is priceless.
Discover, or rediscover a wonderful piece of music, plug in and listen…
It’s fair to say that I have an eclectic taste in music. I love many classical pieces and would name Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Bruch’s violin concerto and Rachmaninov’s Piano concerto no. 2 as my top three. I also enjoy a range of rock and pop, with favourite artists including Maroon 5, Coldplay and Radiohead. I remember seeing what was for a time quite a popular car sticker on the rear windscreen of musician’s cars in the 1980s – it simply said ‘Music moves us’. A play on words and how true it is. I am no musician and I wish I were, but equally, not having that skill perhaps helps to appreciate even more those that do. So at the end of a long day, there are few better things than putting the headphones on, closing your eyes, and enjoying the genius of great musicians.
So, with the Christmas holiday almost upon us, perhaps take the opportunity to take a moment looking at the natural wonders around you, cook a wonderful meal and share with your family and don’t forget the power of music.
I wish everyone in the Marlborough community a wonderful festive period and a very happy New Year when it arrives.
Mr Eatough, Head of Senior School