Sit comfortably in your seat. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Try to relax any areas of tension in your body. How do you feel?

You probably have already heard of mindfulness and maybe have already tried to practice it yourself, but it’s a new concept to many high school students. “A lot of kids have never really been taught how to recognize and understand their social and emotional needs,” said Senior Instructor Emily Tow. “Students are dealing with incredible amounts of stress, anxiety, and other emotional strain, but they might not have the understanding and coping mechanisms to handle them.”

In KidsTek’s Life Skills class at Florence Crittenton High School, mindfulness is meeting the 21st century through distance learning. Tow, along with Jeanette Nicastri, a Denver Public Schools School Health Professional working in Prevention Programs, has been adapting a mindfulness curriculum called “Learning 2 Breathe” into a short, weekly podcast and accompanying lesson. Students learn basic mindfulness concepts, engage in short practices such as mindful breathing and body scans, and learn how they can add easy mindfulness practices to their daily lives.

“I think my favorite part about this podcast is that we’re encouraging students to respond to each ‘episode’ in a comments section. This allows them to share what works for them, encourage each other, and have an authentic conversation with their peers about how they’re feeling,” said Tow.

Students are also exploring the intersection of technology and self-care. This week, students are working on a self-care scavenger hunt, collecting resources across the internet that they can use to support their emotional well-being. 

If you or a loved one is struggling, Colorado Crisis Services is here to help. To visit Colorado Crisis Services, call 1-844-493-8255, or text “TALK” to 38255.

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