Eureka! Nursery: Walking for wellbeing
Posted by Rebecca Oberg on
At the end of each year our nursery team develops a plan for the following twelve months, identifying a theme and different activities and developments to work towards. For 2019, we chose to focus on wellbeing – both of our nursery children and ourselves.
It’s a privilege to work with children. It can be great fun and is such a caring environment to work in, but of course it also brings huge responsibilities. Combined with long working hours (to accommodate working parents) and a sector where continuous study, training and development is essential to providing expert care, it can be challenging for childcare professionals to find the time to focus on their own happiness and wellbeing.
Sadly it’s not surprising to see reports, such as this in Nursery World, stating that “One in four early years workers are considering leaving the sector due to stress and mental health problems”. And this is something I’m very clear on: I don’t want this to be our team!
So we challenged our team to think about ways to support one another, boost wellbeing and focus a little more on ourselves. One of the ideas that we came up with sounded deceptively simple: to walk more!
“These boots were made for walking”: Taking steps in the right direction
- Small changes = BIG differences
You can start small with walking: Get off the bus one stop earlier or park at the farthest end of the car park. Set your own pace, time or distances, and start to build at a level that works for you.
- It’s flexible
Sure – we’d all love to smash the recommended target of 10,000 steps per day, but sometimes it just isn’t that easy to find the time. Walking can be done whenever, wherever. Every single step is a step in the right direction!
- It’s FREE
It’s not just great for anyone who’s time-poor, but for anyone living on a tight budget the cost of a month gym membership isn’t always an option. You don’t need expensive kit
- Good for mind AND body
Research has found time and time again that walking and other forms of exercise can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
“I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…”
Last month, 17 members of our nursery team made a commitment to get walking more by signed up for Race at Your Pace – a virtual challenge where you can commit to walking (or running, cycling etc) a certain length over the coming month. Our team chose our own distances – either 25 or 50 miles – and then kept track of how far we walked throughout the month, fitting walking activities around work, home and the array of commitments that we all face!
On Easter Saturday, a group of us walked the 10 miles from Hebden Bridge, along the canal back to Eureka! together, giving us a chance to stroll, chat as a team and be close to nature.
“The greatest psychological benefits of walking have been found in social contexts with specific features of the outdoor environment (greenery and water)”
We all exceeded our April targets, and in fact walked a total of 1168.59 miles!
May is National Walking month and, due to the fact we enjoyed walking so much and are already feeling the benefits, we thought it would be great to get the children out and about walking too.
Walking for Max
As well as walking for our wellbeing, we’re also fundraising for one of our nursery children, Max.
Due to a brain tumour which left Max with some complex needs and the landscape of Calderdale, Max is unable to access his garden at home and play outside. We’re hoping to raise funds to renovate the garden to make it accessible. You can read more about Max, and donate if you feel able on our crowdfunding page.
On 21st May all the children (and staff!) will be taking part in a sponsored walk around the Eureka! site, which is approximately 1 mile, and we’d really appreciate your support!