Before the winter break, Kelley and Lauren set out to Reginald F. Lewis and then Paul’s Place to facilitate a self-care lesson. While the holidays are intended for families and friends to celebrate, it can also be a source of negative feelings. Whether our students were dealing with the loss of a loved one, complicated family relationships, gift insecurity, loneliness, or lack of personal space—the youth education team wanted to provide them with a few healthy coping methods.
The self-care lesson began with five minutes of yoga followed by a discussion on ways to deal with stress. During the discussion, students were able to share their tried-and-true tips for stress management, and Kelley and Lauren learned that nearly all the students found music to be one of the most effective ways to decompress.
After the discussion, the group was separated into two. One group worked with Kelley to create stress balls out of flour and balloons. When the students had completed their stress balls, they were encouraged to illustrate it with a symbol or personification of their anxiety.
The second group worked with Lauren to make non-toxic hand scrubs using olive oil, sugar, fresh mint, and an assortment of dried herbs and spices. The students got really creative while designing their signature scrubs, and it was refreshing to watch the students use their senses to engage with the ingredients.
By the end of the lesson, both groups had the opportunity to create stress balls and hand scrubs. Students who had seemed apprehensive at the idea of getting their hands messy couldn’t help but join in on all the fun!
Last week, Kelley and Lauren followed up with the students at Reginald F. Lewis and were happy to hear the students were still using the stress balls to decompress. Their teacher, Mr. Beigel, noted that students who had missed the lesson were looking forward to making their own stress balls soon. One student even revealed that he liked the scrub so much he packaged it as a Christmas gift for his mother.
The youth education team hopes to remain flexible in its programming and continue to prioritize the immediate needs of the students, while still providing ample opportunities for them to explore the beauty of ecosystems and the importance of community.