Activities demonstrate ways to de-stress

Natural Helpers participates in Change to Chill program


Rodolfo Zarate

Senior Rakesh Plant contributes to a mindfulness activity Oct. 21 in Spanish class. This activity helps students start the day focused and prepare for upcoming tests.

Maria Perez Barriga

Aware of the importance of self-care, junior Natural Helper Josie Briant said the Change to Chill program provides an outlet for students to decompress. 

The school received the Change to Chill grant, which allowed for the implementation of Chill Week Oct. 7-11 as well as other aspects of the program.

“(For) Change to Chill we did a stress-relieving day where we made stress balls. We  had a day called ‘Workout Wednesday,’” Briant said. “It’s important for your health to get some energy out of your body and workout, so we had yoga.”

Natural Helpers adviser Allison Luskey said the Change to Chill grant allowed two interns, senior Morgan Graves and junior Filsan Omar, to be a part of the program and implement various mindfulness activities.   

“(The Change to Chill) grant has enabled us to have two student interns,” Luskey said. “(They) did work this summer to incorporate (Change to Chill) into our school (to) raise awareness for our mental health and how we can build healthy coping skills.”

According to Omar, being a part of the program has helped her become aware of the creation of the chill zone for students and new ways students can relieve their stress.

“It was honestly eye-opening because we learn a lot about mindfulness and different ways you can de-stress,” Omar said. “Throughout the internship, we were working on making a budget for the chill zone, building the chill zone and bringing new things to the school.”

According to Omar, the chill zone was an idea proposed by the Change to Chill program to provide a place for students to de-stress.

“Part of the internship was they gave (us a) grant for the chill zone,” Omar said. “We chose to make a chill room because it’s another place students can go, other than the health office or the counseling office.”

According to Luskey, the program was planned for the start of the school year to expand students’ knowledge on techniques for mindfulness before upcoming assignments and exams.

“We are about a month into the school year, where tests and projects and stress may really start to be creeping up into students’ lives, at least in the academic aspect,” Luskey said. “We had a full week of themes everyday for students to be able to raise awareness, and for it to continue to be in the daily lives of students.”

Luskey said practicing mindfulness activities is an essential habit to develop for handling stress.

“I think (mindfulness activities are) important because (stress) is really something everyone of us deals with and it’s a way for us to connect,” Luskey said.

Briant said mental health is a concern in people’s lives and the resources offered at school could be a helpful guide in coping with stress and anxiety.

“Right now mental health is a really big issue and it’s important, especially in school,” Briant said. “It’s good to have resources around the school to help with mental health, because not every day is a good day. Sometimes you just need that extra support.”

According to Luskey, the chill zone is located in the counseling office for students to use.