Every Hawk is Welcomed to the Mindful Nest!

Gracie Salabye, Writer

We all know that high school is a scary time in our lives. We’ve seen it in movies, television shows, books, plays, you name it. But in this case, Mrs. Raina Rios  collaborated with the rest of the school’s counselors and created a safe, cozy room called the Mindful Nest! 

This isn’t your typical counseling office room. The Mindful Nest “is a classroom that is connected to the counseling office and we converted it into a space that we think is a safe space that the students can come to when they are feeling upset or emotional.” “In the room, they’re going to find eight different stations, and they’re kind of like coping stations. So we have kids who kind of go around and find what works for them,” Mrs. Rios added. The Mindful Nest is here for students to calm down, relax, and collect all their emotions so they feel more comfortable speaking to one of the counselors about their issues.

“Mindful room” Taken by Gracie Salabye.

The Mindful Nest is for everyone but it’s not for people to just hang out or have a way to skip class. There is a 20-minute timer for each person. Students can come “every hour except lunch” but they do need “permission from their teacher to come up,” Mrs. Rios stated.

This new strategy for students to open up and learn how to cope wasn’t just created for the fun of it, but came from concerns the counselors had. “Students that were going into the bathroom and crying in there, or they were just kind of breaking down in the middle of class or the hallway” from last school year, Mrs. Rios said. All these factors and for the most part, high school is a rough “period [that] can always be emotional and it can be difficult and sometimes students need support” Mrs. Rios shared. With the Mindful Nest, students can learn how to cope with their emotions in a healthy way, especially teenagers who are in their most emotional time in life.

“Activities to do” Taken by Gracie Salabye.

Other than the decor, there are many activities for students to do. Where should we start? The Mindful Nest does require every student that comes in to put away their phones and distractions like homework in a little container. After that procedure, the fun begins. The Mindful Nest has different activities that might satisfy your needs like “stone stacking and mindful movement where there’s a little meditation corner or a balance, kind of like a balance ball type of thing. But just using your body to calm down,” and “mindfulness cards and positive affirmation cards that just allow students to kind of read and…some positive messages,” Mrs. Rios said. Who doesn’t enjoy a positive and motivating quote to help you feel more confident?

If none of those activities interest you, there is also “mindful coloring and watercolors. There’s a Buddha board which is like a paint splash board” and “a sound like a chime activity that kids can do, which sometimes if you’re musically inclined, can help you to calm down. All just different things that might appeal to different students in different ways,” Mrs. Rios shared. The Mindful Nest provides all of this for students and even you! It all depends on what you like and what helps you find peace in yourself and your emotions.

Mrs. Rios’ goals for Highland and the Mindful Nest is to “reduce the stigma associated with talking about mental health and that we just recognize that everybody has mental health. It is unique to each individual and sometimes we all struggle and sometimes we all need support.” 

Mental health is something that most of us gloss over, but it’s also very important to take care of especially if you’re noticing that your emotions and behaviors are abnormal from your usual self. To ensure positive mental health, you should talk to someone you’re comfortable talking with like a trusted adult who you know will keep your issue between the both of you and will guide you through healthy ways of coping so you can feel strong again. It all starts with you getting help and maybe stopping by the counselors or Mrs. Rios so they can support you in your journey of overcoming your negative way of thinking to make this school year a great year!