Finding Some Balance
Looking after our well-being
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider how we can achieve balance in different ways for our overall well-being.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Finding Some Balance) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube Shorts video ‘Sitting Rising Test’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 15 seconds long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/nV86kQ2ergc
- Optional: you may wish to arrange for some pre-prepared volunteers to do the sit-rise challenge. They should be wearing loose, comfortable clothing such as PE kit or jogging bottoms.
- Show Slide 1.
Welcome the students to the assembly.
- Ask the students, ‘Who’s up for a challenge today?’
Explain that you want to invite some volunteers to try the sit-and-rise test. Point out that the aim is simple: you need to sit down into a cross-legged position and then get back up again without using your hands or arms to help.
Tell the students that you are going to show them a YouTube Shorts video to see how it’s done.
Show the YouTube Shorts video ‘Sitting Rising Test’ (15 seconds long).
- Explain the challenge in full.
Volunteers must be standing, and then try to sit down into a cross-legged position without using their hands or arms to help.
If they can do it, they earn five points. One point is deducted every time they touch the floor with their hands, arms, knees or the sides of their legs.
After they have succeeded in sitting down, they can earn a further five points by rising to a standing position, again without touching anything.
If volunteers can sit down and stand back up without using their hands or arms to help, they will score a perfect ten (five points for sitting and five points for standing).
- Invite some volunteers to come to the front and try out the challenge. Keep a score for each participant and declare a winner after they’ve all completed the challenge. Invite everyone to give the volunteers a round of applause as they go back to their seats.
- Tell the students that the sit-and-rise test was devised by medical researchers to help measure fitness and balance. To perform well in the test, we need muscular strength and flexibility, and balance too. This idea of balance is what we’re going to focus on in our assembly today.
- Physical balance - the ability not to fall over - is one kind of balance, and it’s the kind that we looked at with the sit-and-rise test. If we’re physically balanced, our line of gravity stays within our base of support and we remain upright.
- However, we can also think of balance in a broader sense. To lead a balanced life is to have a good mix of the things that we need so that we feel a sense of emotional, physical, spiritual and mental wellness.
Too much study without any time to connect with friends could lead us to feel off-balance, and make us irritable. Likewise, if we spend all our time playing sport, we may miss out on other things in life, which may affect our sense of overall well-being.
Many people see the start of a new year as a good time to regain a sense of balance after the excesses of the festive period.
- Show Slide 2.
The idea of balance is portrayed beautifully in this sculpture by Cornish artist, Harry Maddox. He creates his art by carefully placing and balancing stones that he finds on the beach. He created this particular sculpture in a single hour while he waited for his wife, who was shopping locally.
Rather than feeling frustrated about needing to hang around, Harry used his time to create something. He needed to notice the stones around him to create his sculpture, and we know that taking time to notice our surroundings - being mindful - is something that supports our well-being. In this way, Harry’s carefully balanced sculpture probably brought him some inner balance.
- We can find this striving for inner balance - for getting a good mix of the things that promote emotional, physical, spiritual and mental wellness - in many of the world’s religions.
In Buddhism, there is the Middle Way, which involves living in a way that avoids extremes and achieves a sense of balance. In Christianity and Islam, taking care of our bodies and minds is important because it demonstrates gratitude and respect for God’s creation.
Time for reflection
Let’s take some time to reflect on what balance looks like for us in our own lives.
As we think about physical balance, we could consider whether we want to build some exercises into our daily routine. Maybe we know that we’d struggle to score full points in the sit-and-rise test, so we could start practising to see whether we can improve our physical balance.
We can also consider balance in the wider sense of emotional, physical, spiritual and mental wellness. How balanced do we feel overall?
We can use some questions to help us reflect on this.
- What do we want to make more time for in our weekly routine?
- What do we want to do less of?
- Who are the people we want to see more of or connect with?
- Do we ever take time to reflect on our emotions and feelings? Do we ever take time to consider our beliefs?
- Can we make time each week to care for our physical and mental health?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Rather, they are prompts to help us gain a greater sense of balance in our lives.
It can be difficult to find balance in our daily lives.
People around us may tell us that we need to do more or less of something.
We might find it hard to make time for the things that matter to us.
We might feel busy, overwhelmed or unsure how to make changes.
In these times, please help us to connect with a sense of peace.
Help us to see the next steps that will lead to a greater sense of balance in our lives.
Grant us balance today.