Santa Catalina School held its second Health and Well-being Day on January 21, a full day of speakers and workshops designed to give students the space, time, and tools to enhance their overall wellness. This year's theme was "Big Impacts Are Rooted in Moments."
The keynote speaker, Dr. Laura Robinson Harbert '77, talked about "Building a Life of Impact." A clinical psychologist, spiritual director, and ordained Presbyterian minister, Harbert said that a life of impact is about the connection we make with others. Referencing the work of psychiatrists, life coaches, and poets, she talked about healing others by being present with them; being able to acknowledge and admit our own suffering; and learning to balance our social (outward) self and essential (inward) self.
"You have the potential every single day to either add to someone's pain or burden or to add to their healing and their flourishing," she said. "... A life of impact is going to be, Who are the lives that you touch? What do people feel when they're with you?"
In the morning, students chose from a variety of activities for movement and reflection, such as pool time, a run/walk on the beach, journaling, and tai chi. The afternoon featured breakout sessions representing every aspect of Santa Catalina's Wheel of Well-being. Each student chose two sessions that spoke to them.
Local pastor Tim Yee led this session about helping students discover their core motivations. Yee is trained in a new assessment tool called TruMotivate, which uses stories from a person's life—moments where they felt proud or successful—to determine the "why" behind their actions. About 65 students took the assessment and shared their results in small groups during the session. Based on their stories, students' motivations included designations like "Meet Needs," "Make It Work," and "Explore." The hope is that students will consider these motivations as they look toward future career prospects and other life choices.
Relationships and Communication
Keynote speaker Dr. Harbert led this session about making and nurturing lasting relationships. Students discussed answers to questions they had been asked before the session, such as "What are you good at in relationships?" and "Is it better to have a group of friends or one good friend?" Harbert said the two best qualities to have as an individual are self-awareness and empathy, saying, "Relationships can't be healthier than you are."
Exercise and Movement
Physical therapist Dr. Kenny Peyton, a Catalina trustee and past Upper School parent, showed students some exercises they can do to keep their bodies strong and prevent injuries. He also raised awareness about the female athlete triad, a combination of conditions involving eating, menstruation, and bone health that can affect teenage girls who train or exercise intensively.
Santa Catalina health teacher Beth Riley guided students in a meditation and talked about the importance of spirituality—however you define it, a connection to something greater than yourself. Students made rosary beads to demonstrate how they can remain present as they focus the mind from bead to bead.
Professional organizer Jasmin Reate '97 gave students practical tips and tricks for creating positive personal spaces and improving productivity. For example, she encouraged students to organize their rooms by creating little spaces that make them happy, grouping items like books, plants, and framed pictures. "Don't look at your room as a storage space, but as your own sacred area," she said. (As a bonus, two lucky boarding students received a personal room-organizing session with Reate before Health and Well-being Day.)
Nutrition and Hydration
Holistic nutritionist Jill Troderman taught students about fermented foods and their importance to our immune system and gut health. Students then chopped vegetables and herbs to make their own jars of fermented carrots, beets, and cauliflower. Students also learned about composting, drawing parallels between the bacteria that break down food scraps and the bacteria that live in our digestive tract.
Time for Rest
Director of Summer at Santa Catalina Ange Atkinson talked about six types of rest: physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and sensory. With each, she led students in some sort of activity, such as breathing exercises. She addressed things we can do outside of bedtime to help improve the quality of our sleep, such as getting into routines, eating well, and learning to process emotions.
Health and Well-being Day was organized by the Student Health and Wellness Committee, which met more than 20 times since September to design the program. They worked under the guidance of Health and Wellness Director Liz Hulme. Artwork by Samantha Scattini '21.