The EduNinja Mindset 11 Habits For Building a Stronger Mind and Body is FINALLY here!
Read what people are saying about The EduNinja Mindset 11 Habits for Building a Stronger Mind and Body:
“An incredible inspirational book about reaching for personal greatness inside and outside the classroom.”
– Jon Gordon, author of The Energy Bus and The Carpenter
“Jen’s ‘journey’ is nothing short of amazing! As one of her former high school teachers and coach, Jen’s road to fulfillment is not surprising. The EduNinja Mindset is who Jen is and her inspiration, passion and commitment makes her the perfect role model for students and educators alike. I am moved by her mind/body insight and reflection and the path to living a full and healthy life.”
– Peg Pennepacker, CAA, High School Title IX Consulting Services
Healthy Food to Fuel Our Bodies
As I walk into the classroom students are always curious what’s inside my giant cooler of a lunch bag. That’s excellent because it shows they care about healthy nutrition, and they’re genuinely looking for healthy ideas to share with their families. Caring about what foods you put into your body is one of the biggest lessons we can share with others. I’m always happy to hear when a mom or dad comes up to me and says, “ My son or daughter has us trying black bean burgers at home, counting our grams of sugar for the day, or looking at food labels at the grocery store.”
Why should we care about what we eat?
As teachers, parents, and friends, we can easily share the importance of fueling our bodies with healthy foods, model healthy eating strategies to make better food choices, be mindful of serving sizes, and become label readers to reduce sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
What are some simple ways I can eat healthier?
By looking at reputable websites for food guidelines and portion sizes students can begin to learn daily healthy habits and strategies for fueling their body. Some places teachers, students, and families may want to start their nutrition learning are: choosemyplate.gov and https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/
How can we all make healthier food choices when faced with options?
It’s empowering to learn about the different food groups and awesome, new ways to eat these foods. Portion sizes can really be deceiving, so it’s important to see what a serving size really looks like and learn about the possible ill effects of sustaining an unhealthy diet. Once we’re informed decision makers then it just takes some practice and maybe some encouragement in making healthier food choices in creating a culture of health.
What are some other ways we can model healthy eating at school and at home?
Try starting a school or home garden to learn more about powerhouse greens and other vegetables.
It’s Time To Move
“For physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. The relationship between the soundness of the body and the activities of the mind is subtle and complex. Much is not yet understood. But we do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong, that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound bodies.”
—John F. Kennedy
Building a Healthier Community Together
Movement starts with you! It’s not just the job of the P.E. teachers to instill lifelong fitness habits. Administrators, teachers, students, and families all get to promote the benefits of exercise, mode it daily, and encourage community effort. This approach is referred to as a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP). The goal of CSPAP is to increase physical activity opportunities before, during, and after school and increase students’ overall physical activity and health. What can you do to help?
Recommendations for Physical Activity
The US Department of Health and Human Services provides guidance on healthy physical activity habits. The national recommendation is that children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years should have 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website this includes:
Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
These guidelines also encourage children and adolescents to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.
Fun Ways To Get Moving
According to the American Heart Association, “A healthy school environment can result in greater academic achievement, healthier students, and school staff.”
What is Mindfulness?
If you ask five people what mindfulness is, you may get five different answers. It’s important to look to the wisdom of those who have been practicing and teaching mindfulness strategies over the years. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, established the world-renowned Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction Clinic in 1979 and helped bring mindfulness to the mainstream. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s clinical research focused on mind-body connections and strategies to help individuals suffering from stress and chronic pain. He defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.” Mindfulness is understanding our mind and noticing our present experience with clarity by using all of our senses without attached judgment.
Why is Mindfulness Needed in Education?
Schools are a sanctuary of learning most of the time, but sometimes they can become stressful, anxious places for students, teachers, and administrators. Mindfulness is a way to keep our brains healthy, support self-regulation, and aid in effective decision-making to protect ourselves from toxic stress. In intense situations, our fight-or-flight response kicks in instinctively because our brain activates neural pathways of fear. But these same neural pathways can be activated by chronic stress due to prolonged day-to-day worries, ruminating about a negative event, or replaying repeated feelings of guilt. The more these high- stress-response fear pathways are activated, the more they become our default setting.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) strategies are practiced and taught in health care facilities, yoga studios, prisons, law firms, and schools. Mindfulness isn’t a religion, a disciplinary tool, meditation, or the absence of thought, nor is it simply calmness or happiness. Regular daily mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve attention, impulse control and regulation, increase empathy and understanding of others, and promote sense of calm and the ability to be present to yourself and others. Many, if not all, of these benefits can positively affect teaching and learning.