I believe that both physical and mental wellness are crucial for maintaining one’s happiness, as a healthy body and a healthy mind will help you remain positive; especially when you are doing such a rigorous and at times stressful educational program as the IB. I myself have noticed that since I moved to japan I do not always focus enough on physical and mental wellness, so I decided to change that.

When I still lived in the Netherlands, I used to cycle to school an hour one way every day. So that amounts up to ten hours a week. I also played tennis once a week and I did track & field twice a week. However, since I moved to Japan, I have been doing sports less often. Therefore, during summer break, I decided to do a start doing quick workouts twice a day; when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I usually do two rounds of sit-ups, one round of burpees, one round of push-ups and one round of squats. As I am not really a morning person, doing a quick workout helps me get rid of the sleepiness and get ready for the day. In the evening it actually helps me as well, because it makes me tired, which makes it easier for me, as a night person, to fall asleep.

During one of the socio-emotional learning sessions with our university counselor, we discussed different ways of staying emotionally healthy. The example that the she gave us was to make a simple short to-do list with a few positive tasks, such as for instance: give someone a compliment. She told us that she herself always uses that and that it has even been scientifically proven to help people get a more positive mindset. I was really enthusiastic about the idea so I decided to start doing it as well. So, the day after the socio-emotional learning session, I went to a website that allows you to easily make a checklist/to-do list (www.todolistme.net) and I made my own Positivity Checklist with the following tasks: listen to music, help someone, give a compliment to someone else, give a compliment to yourself and smile. It is one of the tabs that I never close on my PC, try to use it every day. In the picture I added to this reflection you can see what my Positivity Checklist looks like (and that I still need to give myself a compliment today). I can say that I strongly agree with our university counselor, because whenever I tick a box on the checklist or whenever I look at the boxes that have already been ticked, as well as while doing the positive tasks, I actually feel a bit happier.

Overall, I think that doing these simple physical and emotional wellness activities helps me a lot. For instance: I fall asleep more easily, I feel less sleepy in the morning, I feel more fit, I have a positive mindset and I feel less stressed. I hope that I will be able to continue doing this throughout the rest of the year.

My Positivity Checklist.