BACK

blog

An Interactive Self-Care Workshop to do in your Community

By: Jordyn and Gia (Riley’s Way Council co-chair), The Hewitt School

Self-care: What is it and why is it so important, especially amidst such a hectic time? 

On April 8th, we (eleventh-grade students from the Hewitt School) partnered with Riley’s Way to launch our virtual webinar series within our upper school. We both share a love of Hewitt and deeply care about our community. In order to have a community in which we can rely on one another, we recognize the importance of more community-wide conversations about prevalent and systemic issues. This will help to build acceptance and strengthen our understanding of different perspectives, opinions, and backgrounds. Throughout our junior year, we have been working on new ways to both hear and bring-in more meaningful conversation, centered around such topics, as a normalized and ongoing point of discussion in our community. We were frustrated with the overall tendency of some youth to shy away from conversations that are hard to have. We made it our role to incorporate these topics of discussion into our school day with the purpose of expanding our classmate’s overall knowledge and willingness to lean into discomfort.

With this being our big picture goal, we thought no better place to start than with our Riley’s Way community. We wanted to show up for our peers and strengthen our sense of connection with one another (although from a distance) by opening the dialogue for honest discussions about self-care, being kind to those around you, and spending quality time with your family during this distressing and unprecedented time. We started with our peers, the Juniors of Hewitt, and launched the first workshop. We know that the second semester of junior year is often the most stressful semester of anyone’s high school career, and our college process (at least the one we grew up knowing) would be unlike anything experienced before. Because of the recent global pandemic, everyone is self- isolating and must navigate through a new sense of normalcy. We have seen our nation flare into a crisis filled with uncertainty and fear. This is a unique time in history, and we wanted to take the time to acknowledge and work through the difficult emotions that people might be feeling.

With this in mind, we launched our webinar series with Riley’s Way, as it provides a gateway for future conversations that do not get the proper attention they deserve but are equally important to have.

What was the self-care workshop like, you ask? Well, Lauren Sheknkman began by discussing the importance of showing up for yourself, especially during these times. Even if that just means changing out of your pajamas in the morning, working out, or setting a schedule. Laura Kikuchi then discussed how self-care looks different for everyone, and different things work for different people. Furthermore, even things that may have been working before COVID – 19 may not work now. She explained the different “buckets” of self-care:

  • Physical (for example, taking a walk)
  • Social (for example, talking to friends, reaching out to family)
  • Mental (for example, practicing hobbies that make you happy like writing or reading)
  • Personal (for example, service work, checking in with a friend)
  • Spiritual (for example, meditation, yoga)

Then, students shared ways they have been practicing self-care. Some students mentioned how they find joy in braiding their hair, listening to music, cooking, spending time with their family, or drawing to work on self-improvement. This was a segue into talking about the importance of implementing and sticking to a routine to create a new normal.

We concluded the meeting by writing down one way we will practice self-care to show up for yourself and one way we will practice self-care by showing up for someone else. We made a commitment to ourselves to write down a sentence of gratitude each day to be reminded of the gifts we have in life even during this uncertain and anxiety-provoking time. By physically writing down what we wanted to achieve and feel, we were practicing intention making, while also acknowledging that something might get in the way, and to not beat yourself up about it.

After this time of self-growth and learning, we received positive feedback from members of the 11th grade,  all of which felt they learned something new about each other or themselves. An eleventh grader said, “I learned that during this time of immense need, not only should I take time to understand how I can care for others who are affected, but also for myself and family who are experiencing the implications of social distancing and extreme change.” We are thrilled about this strong start to our webinar series and we look forward to bringing this conversation to other grades in our school. On April 15th, we continued this conversation by repeating the workshop with the ninth grade. A ninth grader  said, “I thought the experience with Riley’s Way was very impactful and helped me understand how I can take care of both myself and others during these times.”

We encourage you to consider launching this discussion in your school as well. Below we created a detailed outline of what this conversation entailed for us. We hope this can provide you with a strong foundation; feel free to improvise and include your own ideas as well!


Self-Care Conversation 

Introduction:

  • Define self-care
  • Explain the “buckets” of self-care: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and personal (give definitions, *explained in the blog above). Self-care is a balancing act of all these forms.
  • Acknowledge how it can be difficult to be kind and a change agent if you are not taking care of yourself. The most important relationship is the one with yourself.

What does Self – Care Look like?

  • It can come in a multitude of forms and it can change depending upon one’s current situation
  • What works for you at one point in life, may not in another. Different things work for different people and that’s what makes us each unique.
    • Ask what is working for them
    • Make this an interactive experience to further strengthen the bonds within your community

Stick to a Routine! It is so important; here’s why:

  • Routines help maintain and provide a feeling of productivity and normalcy!
    • Especially when things are hectic and stressful

Why is it important to be kind and spend time with family?

  • Ask: how are you showing up for yourself? How are you showing up for your friends and family?
  • Ask: How do you use your free time to focus on family and friends?
    • You can spend time brainstorming
  • Write: Hold everyone accountable to their intentions!
  • Write: Have each member of the workshop write down ways in which they will be there for those around them

Gratitude:

  • Ask: What is one thing in your life you are grateful for? Is there a story that is giving you hope?
    • Make this an interactive experience! Encourage dialogue!
  • Write: Conclude by writing down a sentence of gratitude each day to remind ourselves of the gifts we have in life, especially during an uncertain and anxiety-provoking time!