Be Well Butte Educators; Mar. 2021

A Monthly Wellness Newsletter for Butte County's Educators

Welcome

Hello and welcome to the March edition of Be Well Butte Educators, the newsletter designed specifically for the wellness of all those serving students directly and indirectly throughout Butte County. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, paraprofessional, office staff, bus driver, custodian, or any of the other many staff supporting Butte County's students, we're so glad you are here. Each month we will be sharing ideas and resources to support you in taking care of YOU! If you'd like to receive this newsletter monthly, you can sign up in the right hand column of the web-based version of this Newsletter or send an email to mtaylor@bcoe.org with Wellness Newsletter in the Subject Line.
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The Benefits of Nature

Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing. Doing things like going for a hike, being around animals, or gardening can have many positive effects. You might experience improvements in your mood, reduced stress or anger, increased relaxation, improved physical health, increased confidence, and new connections with others. Read on for tips and strategies for bringing more of nature into your own world!

Noticing Nature

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Check out the link below for a practice in paying attention to nature to boost feelings of connection.

Healing Forest

Healing Forest is a great resource for ideas on how to grow your resilience and improve your well-being through nature. The site includes links to resources, blog posts, and information on forest therapy, nature walks and more.

March Action Calendar

The March Action Calendar from Action for Happiness features mindfulness. Check out the calendar below for daily ideas on incorporating mindfulness into your life. How many of these things can you do outside?

U.S. National Park Service

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Be sure to check out the U.S. National Park Service for other options on getting outside and experiencing nature. They even have virtual options that can help you experience places you might not be able to physically get to.

Why We're Drawn to Nature

Below is the link to a Podcast from The Greater Good Science Center that explores how getting out in nature can restore peace of mind.

Guided Imagery - Walk Through Forest

Guided Imagery - Walk Through Forest

Health Benefits of Gardening

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Matt Tries

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Each month Matt Reddam, BCOE School & Community Wellness Advisor, tries out a new wellness activity and reports back on his experience. This month, Matt tries Gardening.


I looked outside the other day and realized that it is Spring. It may not be officially spring, but the blanket of weeds in the yard tells me it certainly is Spring. Like most things that involve the childhood feeling of a “chore” (think dishes, cleaning your room, folding clothes, cat box cleaning) gardening has always been something I avoid. That is hard for me to say. It seems like if you live in Chico, you at some point loved Dave Matthews Band and you probably have a summer garden which you talk about A LOT. Truthfully I have always been jealous of people who can actually grow something from the dirt, but even still, I avoided it. It was with my newfound joy in home projects that I decided to head outside on Saturday and do some gardening!


According to research, gardening has a ton of positive impacts on wellness. Some of those benefits include:


· Helps fight disease

· Builds strength

· Improves memory

· Boosts mood

· Reduces stress

· Helps addiction recovery

· Fosters human connections

· Heals and empowers


What I have learned is that gardening is a true art and a true science. To grow a certain type of plant or flower can often involve research, experimentation, observing, and adjusting. Fortunately I have a partner in crime who enjoys all of those aspects of gardening, and has created a front yard that is not only drought resistant, but also beautiful. I knew that this would leave me with only one gardening option…….weeding and adding soil to pots! I have to say that for the first time in recent memory I was thrilled to dig my hands in the dirt.


So few things seem to make any sense lately, so any time I can remind my body of the things that do make sense, the things that haven’t changed, I am thrilled to do it. It turns out that weeds and soil have remained the same. Soil still smells and feels like soil, and weeds still seem to replace themselves as soon as they are pulled up. Life is back in order. I dug, shoveled, laughed, smelled, smiled, and groaned my way through 4 hours of work that seemed nothing like work. The most memorable aspects of my afternoon included spending time with family outside, laughing, getting some actual exercise, and most importantly getting to do something that had a tangible result. Our lives right now are filled with so many things that we don’t get to see the result of, it was wonderful to have something that I could engage in, look, and see that I had made a difference. That alone was worth every minute of those 4 hours. I highly recommend gardening, even if all you are doing is making someone else’s effort look wonderful.


https://www.healthline.com/health/healthful-benefits-of-gardening#helps-fight-disease


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334070/


If you have suggestions for things for Matt to try in the future, you can submit them HERE.

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Walking Mindfulness Meditation

The video below can be used to make any walk a mindfulness journey.
Walking Mindfulness Meditation - For Hiking or Walking In Nature

#HikeButteCA

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Have you gotten your #HikeButteCA pass? Interested in checking out the many hikes in our own backyard? Want to challenge yourself? Go to the Explore Butte County website and register for your #HikeButteCA pass to participate in the hike challenge and maybe even win some fun swag!

Other Ideas for Getting Outdoors

Not sure how to incorporate the outdoors into your day to day grind? Click the article below for 9 ideas on how to get outdoors.

Tech Support

Do you wonder what different plants are called? Or wonder what kinds of animals are around you? Use the Seek app to help identify plants and animals that you find on your adventures. You might even find that it encourages you to find new and different bits of nature around you!

Get Your Sleep

Sleep is a critical piece of our overall wellness. Getting a good night's sleep can improve your mood, support heart health, boost your immune system, and help with weight management. For some, nature sounds such as waves, birdsong, etc. can help calm the nervous system and soothe them into sleep.
Ocean Sounds and Forest Nature Sound: Meditation, Sleep

Upcoming Wellness Opportunities

Optimistic Closing

One of CASEL's 3 SEL Signature Practices is the Optimistic Closure. An Optimistic Closure ends a meeting, class, or experience in a thoughtfully planned and meaningful way, helping everyone leave with appreciation and energy, looking forward to connecting again. As you finish reading this month's newsletter, what is one way you are going to bring more nature into your life?

Ideas for Future Newsletters?

Do you have ideas or a topic that you would like to see in a future newsletter? Click HERE to submit those for consideration. Thank you for your input!

Maryanne Taylor

Maryanne is the Principal for Special Education Programs for BCOE and is a member of the Coordinated District Support Team. This newsletter is part of a coordinated plan to address the wellness needs of all staff in our districts and schools in Butte County. For more resources, visit the BCOE Universal Wellness Webpage.