By Lizzie Manowitz
On November 14th, students participated in Byram Hills’ annual Wellness Day. The goal of Wellness Day is to help students de-stress and relieve anxiety through various activities such as yoga, art, and meditation. Senior peer leader Katie Lev states, “Wellness day was a way for all students at Byram to take a step back from the typically stressful school day. You’d be surprised about how little people know about the importance of mental health education, identifying when you are stressed and what we can do to de-stress.” As many students would agree, school can be very stressful at times; therefore, Wellness Day is a great way to learn about new methods and strategies to cope with the stresses of school or really anything!
On Wellness Day, students were assigned to break-out rooms for three sessions and took part in different activities such as meditation, yoga, different forms of art, mindful eating and tai chi. The break-out sessions were led by peer leaders, teachers or outside experts who specialize in certain areas of mental wellness. Katie Lev shared that through the breakout sessions, “all students got a sample of three different mental health activities that they can integrate into their lives.” Katie taught tai chi, an internal Chinese martial art, with her fellow peer leader, Camille McCarthy, and remarks, “It was interesting to see how difficult it was for students to slow down their movements for eight minutes.”
In other breakout sessions, peer leaders led students in mediation, which allowed for students to take time to relax and de-stress. Many students also participated in a yoga session in the dance studio. Sophomore Olivia Canter says, “Wellness Day was so much fun. First, I had yoga, and I got to relax, which was great. Then, I had some calming tai chi and mindfulness eating [which consisted of the challenge to eat five lucky charms over a time span of 45 minutes which worked on developing a state of awareness and patience]. Overall, it was great to have a relaxing day.”
All in all, Wellness Day was a great success! Sophomore Anika Kumar agrees as she states, “Wellness Day was super fun and it gave me a chance to relax from my stressful day.” Students were able to take some time out of their day to relax and de-stress and hopefully learn some strategies that can be used everyday! As Katie Lev states, “It is important that we break the stigma and not let stress hide under the radar. I really hope that students took something, no matter how small, out of Wellness Day because finding a stress management technique is one of the most important life skills one can learn.”
As Katie explained, it is important to find stress-relieving methods that work well for you to prevent the build up of stress. Hopefully Wellness Day allowed for all students to learn a new way, or even a few, to relax and de-stress to help to make everything that they want to accomplish in high school and life that much easier!