HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Students at one Henrico high school are taking a new approach to dealing with the stress and hard work of school – they’re “chilling”.
Varina High School Family & Consumer Science teacher Michelle Landon organized “Varina On Chill” to help students reflect, meditate and simply chill from the daily stresses of being a teen.
“It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do since I started here,” Landon said.
Landon has taught at Varina High for three years, but now she officially has the program up and running.
“I teach a class called ‘Relationships’ which is a family and workplace readiness-based class,” she said. “The students have helped me with the marketing, the logistics of putting the room together, cleaning it up and helping me with delivering the passes to the students who sign up for it.”
In a room on the second floor of the Varina gymnasium students are strengthening their hearts and minds through yoga and meditation.
“Life is stressful, high school is super stressful,” Landon said. “So giving them time to just unplug from life and the rest of the world and just focus on re-plugging themselves is important.”
Landon teaches yoga in the community, but saw the need to bring this to the school system.
“It’s been a beautiful thing to see and be a part of,” she said.
Since it started three weeks ago, students have filled the 20 slots in the program.
“I’m a Senior and college applications are due, and I’m overwhelmed,” said M’Kayla McBride. “This gives me a release of stress.”
For 20 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday, students can sign up to take part in meditation opportunity.
“Our schedule is different this year,” Landon said. “We have the last 35 minutes of first block… which is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it’s almost like a study hall type time. That’s when we have the program.”
Social media has contributed to filling the program since it first started, according to Landon.
“We created an Instagram account, all the kids are on social media,” she added. “It’s been really helpful with getting their attention.”
“Everybody wants to come,” McBride said.
Throughout the 20 minutes students are moving, focusing on breathing and relaxing, but Landon said there is one area the students wanted to focus on most.
“The relaxation and just wanting to chill was most important,” she said.
"If I got work to do like group projects, I'm coming over here and saying to myself, calm down,” said Senior DeShawn Thornton. “Stop getting all jumbled up, jittery, nervous - relax and deal with that after I'm done and I'll have a better mindset for it."
“That’s part of being life ready and that’s our mission with Henrico County Schools,” Landon said. “To make sure that we’re graduating students that are ready for life. If you don’t have your health, your physical health, your mental health then you’re not going to be ready for anything else.”
Landon hopes other schools and school systems will jump on board with something like this in order to help students channel their emotions in a positive way.
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