Just Breathe program offers students ways to relax and destress

Erica Price, Staff Reporter

Serenity, breathing techniques, stress management and test-taking strategies are just a few topics of a new club for high school students interested in mindfulness and meditation. Students were taught techniques like meditation and deep breathing activities throughout the sessions of this club. The program provided students an outlet to learn meditation techniques for stress. The club with new themes and activities almost every session encouraging students to come by to learn ways to cope with stress. 

   The Just Breathe Program is a new club at Revere High School run by Jen Hayes, a mindfulness coach and yoga and fitness trainer at Afterlight Fitness and Educational Consulting. Hayes is one of the practiced professionals alongside Kim Hemminger and Maria Manning. 

Hayes created this program with the intention to help high school students understand the importance of taking a break from all the stressful activities students are involved in. The club typically meets Wednesdays at 2:45 pm.

Hayes provided sessions during ACT time for students who needed a break from the stress of studying. Every session is filled with different activities, ranging from partner work to self-guided meditation. Hayes talked about the goals and mission of the club. 

“The intentions have always been to provide students with a resource to take a break from their busy schedules. This club benefits those who need help learning how to cope with stressful tests, activites, and daily extracurriculars,” Hayes said. 

The program typically begins with a few deep breaths, followed by a main activity. The main activity can range from learning new techniques to an extended guided meditation led by Hayes. To conclude the session, students thank their bodies and world for everything they do. Hayes talked about how this club benefits the students that attend. 

“From working with students I can see how they enjoy the sessions and feel relaxed during and after them. It’s such a pleasure to instruct these students and see them enjoy the club and figure out which techniques help benefit them in different ways,” Hayes said. 

Senior Rachel DeWitt, a member who actively comes to the meetings, talked about one of her favorite sessions that the Just Breathe Program held. DeWitt explained that she had a partner balance lego blocks on her to simulate staying calm while being figuratively under pressure. DeWitt explained the Lego session. 

“At first it was very hard to stay still, but once I got into the right headspace I was still as a rock and it was very relaxing. It was neat to understand the importance of staying calm in high stress pressures,” DeWitt said. 

As a very involved high school student, DeWitt enjoys attending the club’s sessions to help free her from her busy schedule. Her friend Alexa Furukawa pushed her to attend a session and now she enjoys being a part of the breathe team. DeWitt commented on the benefits of attending the program. 

“I feel little to no stress when attending a session and they have even shown us apps to use for when we aren’t all meeting together,” DeWitt said. 

Senior Alexa Furukawa, an active member of the club, enjoys having this program at Revere. She learned about the program through flyers around the school and English teacher and Jen’s husband, McClain Hayes. Mindfulness and meditation helped her grow to welcome her emotions to better connect with herself and others. Furukawa spoke about the best part in this program. 

“It encourages personal growth and awareness as well as prompts the community to be more open to the idea of mindfulness. It also helps networking and connects with its founders and people associated in the group,” Furukawa said. 

The Just Breathe program will continue to run into next year. Hayes hopes to find new session topics around a particular group of students with the same interests. She encourages students to take advantage of this club and attend a session they are interested in.