Stress Less: workshops aim to reduce student anxiety

Stress Less workshops are run by Karen Peters.Photo:

If you asked any student at ARHS if they are stressed, almost everyone would say that some kind of pressure has weighed down on them in the last few months, be it academic or personal. One person is out to change all that.

Karen Peters, the BRYT (Bridges for Resilient Youth in Transition) coordinator at ARHS and a social worker, has created a number of stress-relief and stress-management workshops for students, to help them navigate those turbulent waters.

According to Ms. Peters, “counselors, teachers, deans and other school staff have reported that students are experiencing increased levels of stress and struggles in their relationships. These things are really impacting students’ abilities to feel present and motivated in class.” This also flows to their lives outside of school, she said.

As a result, Ms. Peters wanted to help with interventions, “ways for students to build skills for things that we know that they’re going to keep dealing with.”

“We know stress is not going anywhere in people’s lives,” said Ms. Peters. “We know that relationships are always going to have an element of conflict.” However, she believes that if armed with “more skills and practice,” students will be able to move through situations with increased confidence. “They’ll have an increased ability to sort of ‘ride the wave,’” she said.

Ms. Peters said she feels “really lucky”  at ARHS because we have a principal and an administrative staff “who support building these social and emotional skills and teachers who support students coming out of class in order to attend these [kind of] groups.”

There are two groups currently available to students. One is called Stress Less, which meets on Tuesdays, and helps students build skills to help them cope with stress. The other group is called Let’s Talk, held on Wednesdays, which improves students’ communication skills. Both groups are seven weeks long.

Students who have worked with Ms. Peters before will join in to talk about things they have learned and grow their skills even further, and additional students will join after being recommended for the workshops by teachers or guidance counselors. Anyone interested can learn more by emailing Ms. Peters at