Don’t worry, be happy! Guidance program will help students to de-stress

“Stress Less” is the newest creation out of guidance, a stress-relief group for students that meets during a different period once a week in room 166. It is slated to run for six to eight weeks.

The program is a cumulative effort between guidance counselor Sherry Balzano and BRYT program clinician Karen Peters.

Both have led stress-reduction groups in the past and want to help students who feel their stress levels or anxiety are reaching an unmanageable point.

“We took our favorite methods from [previous groups] to create this one,” Ms. Balzano said.

The group will cover a variety of topics, and some might be discussed more than once, so students who missed a session won’t feel confused.

Each session will have different activities as well.

Attendance during every lesson is highly recommended.  An example for a topic is coping strategies or relaxation methods.

Though Ms. Balzano and Ms. Peters have a lot of ideas, they are also interested in gauging student input as the group moves forward.

“If students are saying they get stressed about tests, then we will do an activity about that,” Ms. Balzano said.

To reach out to students, they explained the group in a morning announcement, and some students were scouted based on guidance counselor or teacher recommendations.

Ms. Peters was particularly excited that some students actively sought out the program because it means that students “are motivated to work on skills.”

The plan is to have around eight people per group so it is small enough that students feel they can all talk equally, but large enough that they have a feeling of solidarity with the other participants.

Ms. Peters and Ms. Balzano will view the group as a success if they finish the eight week program feeling that students had more tools to manage the stress in their lives and more confidence in their ability to cope with challenges.

If all goes well, the Stress Less program will continue on after the initial trial.