27 September 2023



Attending a Swiss international school is an incredible privilege, in part thanks to the awe-inspiring environment around us. However, the descent of Autumn into Winter and the arrival of short days and dark nights can have a wearing effect on many students’ mental health.

Here is a list things students can do to ensure they are feeling their best at this time of year.


  1. Get enough sunlight

Soon, we'll be going to school in the dark and returning home in the dark. Yet we know, and many studies have proven that [1]"natural light positively contributes to higher academic performance [as well as], supports attention [...] overall health, mental health and comfort."  

It is therefore vital that students get into the light as much as they can during the day.

At Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, this is made easier by outdoor sports lessons (weather allowing) and break times spent on the beautiful campus grounds. With views like ours over Lake Geneva, going outside to breathe some of that crisp Autumn air is hardly a chore!


Haut-Lac Secondary School Campus


  1. Get enough exercise

Tied in with the need for sunlight is the body’s necessity for movement. As the temperatures drop, it can be tempting to huddle under a blanket and stay put. However, even just 10 minutes of movement can [2]“improve the body's capacity to handle stress […] and regulate moods."

Students who take active breaks are also often able to sleep and concentrate better, making school life that much easier. Mental health is greatly impacted by physical activity of any kind, from walking to playing in the playground or doing a team sport.

There's no need to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of movement, so don't forget to take the occasional active break! You'll feel much better for it.


Haut-Lac Students in Autumn


  1. Get rooted in the local and Haut-Lac communities

Autumn and its shorter, colder days encourage introversion and more isolation. However, it is also a lovely time in Switzerland!

Markets and artisanal fairs like the Foire St Martin in Vevey spring up all over our region. They are a heart-warming way to immerse oneself in the local culture, whilst also appreciating the beautiful outdoors.

The Haut-Lac school community and PTA are also busy with events like Trunk or Treat and the Christmas Market. These are a great inroad for students and parents alike to establish a deeper sense of belonging and connection with other families and classmates (with a bonus of sweet treats, charity fundraising and artisanal goodies)!

Being a part of these local communities is a valuable boost to mental health and uplifts the Autumn and Winter season. What's not to enjoy?


Trunk or Treat at Haut-Lac


In Switzerland and on the Haut-Lac campuses, nature is currently burning up in glorious shades of gold, orange and red. So be mindful, take it all in and take care of yourself this Autumn.

Katie Harwood
Haut-Lac Alumni


[1] https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/environmental-design/news/2022/mar/importance-daylighting-classrooms-and-its-effect-primary-students-academic-performance

[2] https://www.activehealth.sg/read/movebetter/how-regular-exercise-benefits-performance-and-well-being-in-students

Tags: sport, child well-being, mental health, success

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