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Wellbeing Newsletter Term 2 - 2023/24

Feeling S.A.D. by Jack Michellod, MYP5

Jack Michellod, MYP5

This year I chose to do my Personal Project on SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. Mental health is a very important aspect of your life and you could be suffering from SAD without even knowing it.  SAD affects one in twenty people, causing them to be in a more depressive state in certain seasons, usually at the same time every year. Even though not everyone suffers from it, many people feel that their mood is negatively affected by winter. Here at La Garenne, 57.8% of people admit to feeling more sad in winter than in summer. This means that most people do see a notable difference in mood between the seasons. 



The main causes of SAD that I found were:

  • Lack of vitamin D
  • Lack of fresh air and outside activity
  • Problems with body cycles

Because of the extra clothing that we have to wear in winter and the fact that we also go outside less because of the cold, we have a lack of sunlight to skin contact. Lack of vitamin D has been proved to be associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. This means that in Switzerland, where we are at high altitude in the northern hemisphere like Switzerland  andwhere day/night cycles and temperatures are heavily affected, we have a higher chance of being affected by seasonal depression.

Being outside less in winter because of the cold means that you are going to get less fresh air and less physical activity. Outdoor activity and mental health are closely linked so forgetting to get your fresh air and daily exercise it puts you at higher risk of feeling low. Shorter days and less sunlight lead to prominent changes in our food and sleep schedule, known as our circadian rhythm. Our body has a hard time adjusting to knowing when to eat and to sleep.

These two things are massive factors in our mental health and when they are out of balance, research has shown it can lead to anxiety and depression. Our circadian rhythm controls how and when we release hormones, as well as supporting our metabolism so without it being stable it is much harder to eat and sleep.


For some who seek professional medical attention for SAD, you can attend light therapy sessions. Of course these cost money and are quite boring. Not only that, but they also don't guarantee that you will get rid of your seasonal depression. Here is my take on what you could do:

  • Firstly, exercise more. The people I interviewed all told me that exercise helped them with mental health, not only that but reduced outdoor activity is one of the causes of SAD.
  • Secondly, go outside, get some fresh air, it will get you to move a bit, and it gives you the vitamin D that you need. It is not asking for two hours of intense hiking, but maybe a trip into town and back every day, all this helps.
  • Finally, establish a routine. A routine can help you stabilise your circadian rhythm and make it much easier to wake up, go to sleep, eat and all the rest.


Preparing for the Summer Exams

The whole school wishes our DP2 students all the best in their exams! Here are some tips to help you prepare. You could try lowering stress levels by:

  • Finding a study group. If there isn't one at school, try starting one with friends or people in your class.
  • Making a revision timetable. This helps organise your revision and your breaks.
  • Working in the best way for you. Be creative or active if it helps, like drawing diagrams or making up songs. Try being open to different types of studying and revision.
  • Revising in the best place for you. You might prefer the quiet or being around others. If you don't have a space to study at home, you could try the library, a cafe, or a family member or friend's house. Once back at school, find the best place for you to study.

On the day of your exam, you could:

  • Prepare your items the night before. Get everything you need ready to take with you.
  • Start your day the best you can. Try to eat breakfast and make sure you have enough time to arrive at your exam without rushing.
  • Try to ground yourself with a breathing exercise. If you feel overwhelmed in the exam, try to breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold it for 2 counts, and breathe out through your mouth for 7 counts. If you repeat this, it can slow your breath and help keep you calm.
  • Take your time. Read the questions carefully and plan what you need to do before answering.
  • Remind yourself that it'll be over soon. You've done your best and that's all you can do.

After your exam:

  • Try not to compare your answers to others. If possible, avoid talking to other people about the questions, comparing answers or looking up answers online.
  • Reward yourself. Think of something to do afterwards that you enjoy. You could go out with your friends, play video games, or eat your favourite food. Focus on next steps. Plan what you'll do next, like doing something fun, then revising for the next exam. Think ahead in a positive way – if you have another exam, focus on the time and date that it'll be over. Relax before your next exam. The stress from doing an exam can leave you feeling exhausted. You might find it hard to revise again before you take a break.

Getting the Balance Right

For students, teachers and parents, it is more than important to ensure that we have a correct balance between our working life and our home life/free time. Overworking can lead to burnout as well as lack of creativity and motivation towards our study or our job. As a student, sometimes it is good to take a break and go outside or just talk to our friends. It will re-energise us and allow us to look at our work in a different way. We should all take the time to reflect on our work life balance over the holidays and find a way to balance our lives so that everyone benefits from these changes.

Go from this > to a more positive outlook

  • Missing dinner - I have to get through these emails > I will make time to sit down and nourish myself. My work will be there tomorrow.
  • I am too busy to go outside today > I will schedule a walking meeting today so I can get some fresh air. I will take my class out today to be taught.
  • I am burnt out but if I just push through this week, things will get better > I deserve to rest. When I prioritise my wellbeing, I show up as my best self. 


Easter Egg Cookies

Why not have some quality time in the family this Easter and bake some Easter egg cookies? Here is a recipe for you to try with your family and friends.


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

    For the icing

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Food colouring
  • Sugar decorations

    1. In a food processor, add the butter and sugar and process until combined.
    2. Add the egg and vanilla and process until combined.
    3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.
    4. Add the flour mix to the food processor gradually until it is all mixed and a dough ball forms.
    5. Shape this into a disk and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    6. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
    7. Roll out the disk on a flour dusted surface using a rolling pin and roll it to a 5mm thickness.
    8. Dip your cutter into some flour and cut your shapes out, placing them on the tray. Sprinkle it with caster sugar.
    9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden. Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray and cool and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

    To make the icing
    Using a hand mixer, mix the egg whites until frothy, add the lemon juice and gradually add the sifted icing sugar until fully combined.
    Pour the icing mixture into four bowls and colour each one with a touch of food colouring. Using a knife, spread half the icing over the biscuits.
    Pour the remaining icing into ziplock bags to use as piping bags and snip the tip off and decorate the iced biscuits. Add sugared decorations.

    useful links
    Anapana Meditation
    Yoga to release tension
    Tai-Chi / Qigong
    Tabata workout
    African dance lesson
    Breathing exercises
    Yoga for kids
    Mindfulnessbreathing exercises
    Breathing for Kids
    Breathing Exercises by GoZen
    What Makes Me?
    Growth Mindset
    Wellbeing apps for different ages
  • Categories: Wellbeing


    Wellbeing Newsletter Term 1 - 2023/24

    La Garenne's Counselling Service

    Maya Suter, School Counsellor

    We would like to introduce our school counsellor Maya Suter to our new parents. Maya offers a supportive space where students can explore their thoughts and feelings in a confidential and non-judgmental environment.

    Maya is here to help students navigate life's challenges, gain insight into their concerns, and work towards positive change. Whether they are facing personal, relationship, or academic issues, we are committed to assisting our students on their journey towards greater well-being and emotional balance.

    You can contact Maya on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions or need more information about the counselling service.

    Responsible Decision Making

    As students in our secondary school prepare for life after La Garenne, it is important that they are able to make informed decisions about their future. This could be choosing their next school or university, which subjects to take in the DP years or what to study at University. Decision making is all about making choices, finding solutions and selecting the best option.

    Some choices are easy, such as what to eat for breakfast or should you buy those new jeans or not. Other choices need a more considered approach. Sometimes bigger decisions are more difficult as there might be both positives and negatives for each option. There might also be some pressure from friends and family to make a certain decision.

    The older you get, the more complex your choices might be and ultimately more is at stake. The more informed you are about topics such as drugs, alcohol and smoking, the easier it will be for you to make responsible choices that affect your health, safety and wellbeing.

    Remember that if you struggle to make a decision, you have your teachers and parents available to support you and to help you make positive, informed and responsible choices.

    • Understand how to deal with peer pressure so you can make independent choices
    • Practise decision-making skills and strategies to build your confidence
    • Make informed, responsible decisions around alcohol, smoking and other drugs
    • Find help that will support you to make responsible decisions



    Screen Time

    Online safety is an important part of our school curriculum and we work extensively to help safeguard pupils from potential dangers or unsuitable material. E-Safety is taught to all pupils explaining and demonstrating how to stay safe and behave appropriately online, both at school and at home.

    As a school we can only be successful in keeping our students safe online if we work collaboratively with you, their parents / carers, in ensuring that the message of online safety is consistent.

    We teach our students the following Golden Rules:

    • Use a nickname and not your real name when you are online.
    • Keep personal information safe, share only with people you know.
    • Use websites that are suitable for your age and remember that you are still talking to strangers.
    • Be nice to others online, in the way you would expect other people to be nice to you.
    • Tell an adult if you hear or see something that is not right.
    What can you as parents do to support us and your child?

    Location: Think about placing your computer in a supervised family area. Always supervise your child when they use webcams and applications that allow voice or video chats.
    Legal age: The widespread availability and use of social networking applications allow us to communicate with audiences in a new way. It is important that you remember that not all applications are suitable for your child's age and that there is a minimum age requirement. The following link can be used as a guide: Internetmatters.org

    • Talk to your child and ask them to show or even teach you how they use the internet.
    • Learn which websites or tools they like to use and why. Learning together can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour with your child.
    • Always ensure your child knows how to block or report people online who send nasty or inappropriate messages or content.
    • Encourage your child not to retaliate or reply.
    • Make sure your child knows to tell an adult they trust if they see something online that makes them scared, worried or uncomfortable.
    • It is essential to be realistic – banning the internet or technology will not work and it often makes a child less likely to report a problem.

    Websites for more information




    Wellbeing in the Primary School

    Mindfulness can be defined as the mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment whilst also accepting our feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. By integrating mindfulness into the day, we can equip our children with lifelong skills that support their current and future mental health and wellbeing.

    1. Breathe! Deep breathing is nature's way of relaxing the brain and the body. You can 'trick' the brain with controlled deep breathing. Get your children to inhale for the count of five. Hold the breath for a second, and then slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat ten times, or until calm.

    2. Mindful doodling: It relaxes the mind, and allows the learning to make connections in the brain. It will also help if you play relaxing meditation music in the background.

    3. Mindful gratitude: Throughout the day, get your child to stop what they are doing and take three mindful breaths, and silently write down one thing they are thankful for, on a special 'Gratitude List'. By the end of the day, the list will be long and filled with happy thoughts.

    4. Worry Stones: This is a 'focus object' that can allow children to release their worries and connect with their inner mindfulness of calm and peace. Have a collection of smooth stones to hand. When the child starts to become anxious, have them rub the stone, while focusing on the feel of the stone, and taking deep belly breaths.

    5. STOP! This is a ten second mindfulness idea. When a child is getting frustrated, wriggly or overwhelmed, use the acronym STOP to resettle them. 
    S = Stop what you are doing 
    T = Take a deep breath 
    O = Observe what is happening around you 
    P = Proceed

    And one more bonus tip... Develop your own mindfulness! Children who have access to calm, mindful adults are more likely to be calm, mindful children. When they have good role models who are using mindfulness strategies day in, day out, they will follow your lead. 

    Positivity breeds positivity and mindfulness will become part and parcel of life. Remember that stress is a part of life. It will not disappear. But we can control how we react to stress.

    Creative Wellbeing Activities

    wellbeing jars

    Wellbeing jars

    This activity can be a gift from you and your child to another member of your family or a friend. Your child can choose what kind of a jar they would like to create and they will write messages of love to that person on different pieces of paper. You can support them with ideas if necessary. 
    You will need:

    • Two or three clean jars
    • Coloured card or paper
    • String 
    • Pen / marker


    Memory Bracelet

    Happy Thoughts Memory Bracelet

    This activity is all about creating a bracelet that your child can wear to school and be reminded of all the great moments that they have had with you. This can help them feel closer to you whilst they are with us at school.

    You will need: 

    • String
    • Coloured beads

    For this activity, you will need to define with your child some key memories that they would like to remember on their memory bracelet. Choose colours to represent these memories / activities / feelings. Why not also make one for yourself to create a lovely bond with your son or daughter? 

    Yoga office / screen break
    Yoga to release tension
    Tai-Chi / Qigong
    Fitness with Madfit
    Tabata workout
    African dance lesson
    Breathing exercises
    The power of crying
    Yoga for kids
    Wellbeing books for Primary students
    Mindfulnessbreathing exercises
    Wellbeing apps for different ages

    Books to read: If you would like to learn more about different wellbeing and mental health issues for your age, visit Reading Well. Please ask the school librarian or Eurgain if you would like to order one of the books.

    Categories: Wellbeing


    Le Roc Newsletter Autumn 2023 #6

    School Trips

    School Trip to Europa Park

    Europa Park, Germany

    Our recent excursion to Europa-Park and the thrilling waterpark, Rulantica, was a delightful adventure that left our students buzzing with excitement. Europa-Park, renowned for its captivating rides and attractions, provided an exhilarating experience for our students as they explored its various themed areas, from the heart-pounding roller coasters to enchanting shows and cultural exhibits.

    Europa Park

    The laughter and cheers resonated throughout the park. Rulantica, the adjacent waterpark, offered a refreshing contrast with its water slides, wave pools, and relaxing lounges. This unforgettable trip provided a break from academic routines.

    Europa Park

    Krakow, Poland

    School Trip to Krakow

    During the academic trip to Krakow, the students had an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the Holocaust, the lives and experiences of those who went through it. Through visiting the remains of the Jewish ghetto, meeting a survivor from Auschwitz, Lidia Maksymowicz, and visiting the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the students were able to gain a greater understanding of the experiences of the Jews they had read about in their English lessons, as well as, the historical events that led up to the Holocaust from their History lessons.

    School Trip to Krakow

    Later, the students also had a lot of fun exploring the old town of Kraków, making their own pierogi, tasting Polish and Jewish cuisine with live music, visiting a theme park, the incredible Wieliczka salt mine, and even pushing themselves outside their comfort zone by going to the House of Horrors escape room.

    School Trip to Krakow

    School Trip to Krakow

    Categories: Le Roc Boarding, Boarding Life


    Le Roc Newsletter Autumn 2023 #5

    Icebreaker Event

    Le Roc Icebreaker

    The recent schoolwide icebreaker event was a fantastic showcase of unity and camaraderie as students from across all year groups came together in the spirit of competition and fun.

    Le Roc Icebreaker

    Divided into our four distinct houses – Lynx, Cerf, Buse, and Bouquetins – our entire school community collaborated and competed in a series of engaging activities that not only broke the ice but also fostered strong bonds and friendships.

    Le Roc Icebreaker

    It was truly heartwarming to witness students supporting and cheering for one another, transcending age barriers and forging connections that will undoubtedly endure throughout their time here. These events not only promote teamwork but also instil a sense of belonging and pride in our school community.

    Le Roc Icebreaker

    We are excited to see these relationships flourish as we embark on this journey together, united under the banner of sportsmanship and camaraderie. Congratulations to Team Cerf for their outstanding performance and victory in this memorable event.

    Categories: Le Roc Boarding, Boarding Life


    Le Roc Newsletter Autumn 2023 #4

    Sporting Fixtures

    Le Roc Sports

    We are excited to share that our boarding students have been actively participating in various sports competitions, representing our school with enthusiasm and dedication. Over the past few weeks, our student-athletes have engaged in football, golf, VTT (mountain biking), and volleyball competitions, showcasing their sportsmanship and teamwork.

    Le Roc Sports

    These events not only provide valuable opportunities for skill development but also foster a sense of camaraderie among our boarding community. We are incredibly proud of our students' commitment to both their academics and extracurricular activities, and we look forward to continuing our journey of athletic excellence together.

    Le Roc Sports

    Amongst our incredible results, the CAT A girls managed to finish second in their category in the SGIS volleyball tournament, we finished second in the Golf MLS tournament and one of our bikers finished second in the VTT Verbier competition. Well done to all our athletes.

    Categories: Le Roc Boarding, Boarding Life

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