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'Minding Me Week' in Ard Scoil na nDeise

January can be a hard month. The Christmas holidays are over. The days are still short and the nights are long. School is busy with coursework to be completed and, for some students, pre exams are on the horizon. Bad weather can keep us cooped up inside when we would love to be outdoors. Sometimes this time of year can take a toll on our wellbeing and our mental health. With that in mind, a dedicated group of staff and students got together to organise ‘Minding Me Week’ to help us all to beat those January blues. Ms. K. Gleeson, Ms. Troy and Ms. Pickering worked very hard with our Amber Flag committee to put together a programme of activities and guest speakers that would appeal to a wide variety of tastes and interests.

Monday 15th January
We started off the day with a very informative talk from the Samaritans about how to reach out if you are struggling with your mental health. Everyone found this talk interesting and definitely felt as if they had learned something new. We would like to say a big thank you to the Samaritans for taking the time to talk to us. Also, today was amber day. Everyone had to wear something orange to school to raise money for Pieta house. The cheque would be presented when they came to visit us later in the week.

Tuesday 16th January
Today we started our gratitude tree. A tree was placed in the Junior and Senior Buildings and students were invited to hang pieces of card on the trees saying something they are grateful for. Not only did the trees brighten up the school, but they gave us all an opportunity to think about our lives and things we take for granted.


Wednesday 17th January
On Wednesday we had the teacher baby photo competition, where pictures of the teachers when they were young were placed in both buildings. Students had the chance to guess who each one is and enter it into the box. The winner would be picked from the correct answers on Friday. Also, Steve from Aware came in to talk to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years about the impact of technology and social media.

Thursday 18th January
Michael from Pieta house came in to talk to the TYs, 5th and 6th years about suicide, self-harm, and the impacts they can have. The talk was very informative and really opened a lot of our eyes. Afterwards, before going back to class we stayed in the hall and had a coffee morning to chill out. The members of the Amber Flag committee in TY presented Michael with a cheque for the money raised for Pieta house from Amber day on Monday. Over €500 was raised and we are very proud of this. For TYs, after the talk we had a workshop for two classes. It was called ‘Beat the Blues’ by Steve from Aware. We learned about the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and coping strategies to deal with stressful situations. We would like to thank both Steve and Michael for coming in to talk to us.

All Week
Activities such as yoga, just dance and walks have been going on throughout the week. There was yoga for the 3rd and 6th years and lunchtime yoga for anyone who wanted to join in. Everyday there has been a motivational song played over the intercom to get everyone going, such as “Don’t Worry be Happy”. And, there was a competition running all week where there is a slight change somewhere in the school that you have to notice. All of the talks, activities and competitions throughout Minding Me week have been thoroughly enjoyable and on behalf of everyone, we would like to thank Ms Gleeson, Ms Pickering and the Amber Flag Committee for putting so much work into organising everything.
Written by Shannon Cockwell and Robyn Power, TY

A Student’s Experience of Trying Yoga for the First Time
Last Wednesday, during Minding Me Week, lots of students, including myself participated in yoga with Ms. Barry. The theme was self-belief and knowing your capabilities. As it was my first experience of yoga, I found it very enjoyable and relaxing. We learned poses such as the downward dog, mountain pose, tree pose and the reclined twist. The soft, soothing music in the background enhanced the experience. We learned that yoga is the connection of the mind, the body and the spirit, and how the mind and the body are very much interconnected. For those of you who are looking for ways to relax or improve your fitness level, I would highly recommend yoga. It really is suitable for everyone!!!

 
A packed hall on Friday afternoon for the presentation of prizes and one last motivational song

 
All of our winners of the Minding Me Week Poster Competition

 
Our Amber Flag Committee who worked so hard throughout Minding Me Week

 
Prizewinners from the competition to identify teachers from their baby photos

 
Students hanging their cards on the Gratitude Tree in the Junior Building