There is no less calm a place than school. The energy is amazing. Sometimes it is good energy and other times it is bad energy but rarely is it low energy. So many willful bodies in one place. It's no surprise that many people, students, teachers and staff find some days to be overwhelming. To that end we offer the opportunity to, well, just "be".
Where To Be...
We are excited to announce our new "Calm" space in the Counseling Suite. Our space is a work in progress but we are pleased to offer a space for students, faculty and staff to disconnect and just be. Our space includes comfortable flexible seating, a bubbling fountain, soothing sounds, relaxing scents and soft lighting.
Calm Room Guidelines
- Calm Pass - Passes can be issued by administration, counselors, counseling secretary or the social worker.
- Keeping Track - We need to keep track of who is using our calm space. You will be expected to sign in and out of the calm room.
- Preserving the "Calm" - Items in the calm room were specifically purchased to inspire tranquility. You are welcome to use our space but please leave the various instruments of tranquility undisturbed.
- Class Comes First - The calm space is a place to regroup or meditate for short periods of time. Students should not miss class to spend time in the calm space. Exceptions can be made in cases of crisis or when there is no substitute teacher available to teach the class resulting in students going to study hall.
- Our Space is Small - 6 students is the max load for our calm room.
- Calm - This is, by title and definition, a calm and quiet environment. Behavior is expected to reflect that.
- Respect - The calm room is for personal reflection. Students are expected to respect the privacy and quietness of others in the room. Socializing is best done elsewhere. Please do not engage in conversation or interrupt the private moments of other students using the calm room.
- Openness - An open door is a sign of invitation and our space is designed to be inviting. The door must remain ajar.
- Electronic Free Zone - There is a basket on the table in the room to deposit cell phones and other electronics. Students who wish to follow guided mindfulness/meditation programs on their devices can request permission to use them but otherwise, this is a tech free space.
- Food For Thought - In the calm room we welcome feeding our minds & bodies, not our bellies. While anyone is welcome to use our calm space, your food and drink are not welcome. Leave food, drinks and items that can spill or stain outside of the calm space.
Pop Up Mindfulness
Mindfulness Pop Up events will be held periodically for students, faculty and staff in our auditorium. This quiet "escape" includes calming sight and sound to offer time to decompress and relax during lunch periods. Cell phones and similar technology are not allowed in pop up mindfulness events and participants are expected to be quiet and respectful to their peers. Pop up mindfulness encourages individual quiet and reflection rather than socialization.
Why To Be...
Think about the question "How are you doing?" How often do you ask that question of yourself, friends, colleagues, students, children etc.? Think again about the question. Put it in the context of self. Do you "do"? or Consider changing the thought. Rather than asking how you do, ask how you be? One of the main ideas of mindfulness is to 'do' less and to 'be' more. Mindfulness is most importantly about living in the moment. Do you know how to live in the moment? The practice of mindfulness is an excellent tool to reduce stress and learn how to just 'be'.
How To Be...
Relaxation is an important part of self-care. Even though it is a common concept, very few of us have had much experience with real relaxation. Our definition of real relaxation is different than exercising, zoning out, socializing, or pursuing a distraction like TV or a book. Those things are important, but they are not truly relaxation. Real relaxation is an intentional, focused period of time during which one is mindful and alert, yet one's muscles are relaxed. This is not necessarily as easy as it might sound, but when you have mastered this skill, it can help restore energy and boost your mood and performance levels much better than those other activities.
Below are a variety apps you may enjoy or find useful. We are not endorsing any of the apps specifically, as they are not maintained by our school or department. Most are free but some are available for a small fee. For more information, click the links to contact the companies offering these services.
- Headspace: Basics course is completely free and will teach you the fundamental techniques of meditation and mindfulness. Meditation creates the ideal conditions for a good night’s rest. Relax with guided meditations and mindfulness techniques that bring calm, wellness and balance to your life in just a few minutes a day.
- Mindshift: Designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. It can help you change how you think about anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid anxiety, you can make an important shift and face it. Includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle sleep, test anxiety, perfectionism, social anxiety, performance anxiety, and panic.
- Simply Being Guided Meditation: Voice guided step-by-step instructions for meditation and relaxation.
- Relax Melodies: White noise ambience for sleep, meditation & yoga.
- Breathe2Relax: stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing.
- Meditation Studio: A collection of over 160 guided meditations.
- Insight Timer: Top meditation and mindfulness app. Thousands of free resources
- Calm App: Excellent resource of guided mediation, soothing sounds and sleep stories.
Learning real relaxation techniques is not always easy, so we have compiled a list of websites that we hope will help you learn real relaxation skills. Please note that these sites are not maintained by the Counseling Department.
- Guided Imagery and Mindfulness Exercises: Mentally follow along as you listen to guided scripts for the purpose of relaxation. Use the power of visualization and imagery to reduce stress in your life. After listening to these exercises, remember what made you feel relaxed and use these techniques on a daily bases for best results. This site is maintained by Iowa State University.
- Progressive Relaxation Exercises: Here you will find the Progressive Relaxation Exercise and the Combination Relaxation Exercise. You can listen from your computer or download the MP3 file. This site is maintained by the Hobart and Smith Colleges Counseling Center.
- Meditation: This free site provides terrific virtual relaxation experiences that range from three to 10 minutes long for individuals seeking more serenity and calm. Experiences include soothing sounds, imagery, and deep-breathing techniques. This site is maintained by PGE.
- Deep Breathing Meditation: This site offers five deep-breathing meditations ranging from two to nine minutes in an audio format. The first two are most recommended, and some of the offerings have a Buddhist influence. This site is independently maintained.
- Visualizations for Meditation: This site offers a variety of "rooms" or visualizations with soothing sounds for use when meditating, utilizing guided imagery, or simply to relax. This site is maintained by Gaiam Life.
- Introduction to Mindfulness: This site offers brief mindfulness exercises as well as app access. This site is maintained by UCLA Health.
- Relaxation: This site offers staff videos and audio files. This site is maintained by Loyola University Counseling Center.
The counseling office at Lakeland is partial to the CALM app and we use that application when facilitating mindfulness with students. We are thrilled as educators to be able to access the CALM app for free as a perk to our profession. Unfortunately, the cost can be off putting for students who are looking for low-cost guided meditation. CALM also maintains a Youtube presence with many guided meditations. Access that channel by clicking the link below.