Pandemic School Year Increases Interest in Hands-on Stress Relievers
Visit Brenda Casey, social worker, in the Guidance Office and you’ll see her office is organized with calming scents, magnetic building blocks, squishy balls, and other stress relievers to calm down students.
Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently. Some need help from a counselor and others may find it easier to self relieve their stress. Casey specializes mainly in Crisis Calls; however, she also contributes to many programs within MHS, including providing manipulatives to teachers.
These Manipulatives come in boxes that are filled with plato, soft balls, things that can spin, pipe cleaners and even mandala sheets for coloring. The first time Casey brought up the idea to the teachers, 15 responded. Post Covid-19, 48 people responded.
Casey has had many encounters with teachers about students who “aren’t trying” in their class but they are actually struggling with anxiety.
“The thing with anxiousness is that it’s so internal that on the outside you as a teacher might not be able to see it,” Casey said.
Having these boxes in the classrooms will allow the students to relieve without getting anyone involved. They can take their moment outside of the classroom with no distractions.
“When someones anxious, they have excessive energy or excess energy,” Casey said.
The thing with anxiousness is that it’s so internal that on the outside you as a teacher might not be able to see it.”
— Brenda Casey
This energy that students come across may be easily relieved with fidget gadgets that distract them like these manipulatives or some students handle their stress with one-on-one conversation.
Maya Koehlor, junior, has breathing exercises she uses to calm herself down during school.
“Learning what works for you when you’re overwhelmed will help you in the future,” Koehlor said.
She even went to see a counselor but she didn’t get the help that she was looking for.
“I didn’t think I was getting judged but I just didn’t think I could explain my whole story in an hour,” Koehlor said.
Self-relieving strategies tend to help Koehlor more often than talking with someone. Noticing different behaviors within the students is an important part to look for.
“So that means like really getting to know the student,” Koehlor said.
Junior Principal Carl Hudson strives to make an effort with all the students he can.
“What do they play? Like if you work at a restaurant and I’m your teacher, I’ve been to your restaurant at least once,” Hudson said.