Godwin sophomore creates a stress-free environment for students

The new trailer with comfy furniture and relaxing decor.
photo Julia Grossman

As the second marking period blues start to kick in and exams creep closer and closer, stress has started to increase for many of Godwin’s students.

In an annual study by the American Psychological Association, the average stress level of a teenager was a 5.8/10, whereas adults had an average stress level of a 5.1/10.

In addition, a study done by National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) found that one in five teenagers, ages 13-18, will develop some form of mental illness.

The pressures of school, social life, and social media are causing students to become so stressed out that it causes a lack of sleep in some teens.

For the past five years, Godwin has discussed creating a space for students to relieve stress and unwind. This school year, sophomore Caroline Gyory made it happen.

To help students relieve some of this stress, Godwin had a trailer transformed into the WellNest over the past summer.

Gyory designed the trailer for students to de-stress.
photo Kathryn Chamberlin

Gyory created the WellNest as an oasis for stressed out high school students.

The project was completed for Gyory’s Girl Scout Gold Award, and received funding from Project Purple, a nonprofit started by Chris Herren that assists people struggling with addiction, and help from Godwin principal, Leigh Dunavant.

Gyory decided to create the WellNest for her Girl Scout Award because she saw that students needed a place to feel safe and secure during the school day.

“It’s important to use stress management techniques so that you can focus on yourself and your schoolwork,” said Gyory.

“There’s so much stress from school that students should always have a place to relax”.

Creating the WellNest started by removing everything remaining in the trailer from the previous school year. Using funding from Project Purple, Gyory bought sofas, comfy chairs, yoga mats, and an oil diffuser for the trailer.

They used the bright furniture to add light to the trailer, hoping the color-pattern will act as a stress reliever during the school day.

“I hope students use the WellNest to try and relax during school because it really works,” said Gyory.

A schedule is posted on Schoology that includes all of the weekly events, which range from mindfulness practices to yoga sessions.

The scheduled events include Mindfulness Monday, yoga, Eagle Snaks, stress groups, and open Fridays.

The student reaction to the WellNest has been positive and students are participating in many of the events that are held there.

Gyory and Dunavant hope that in the future, even more students will use the WellNest and participate in the stress-relieving activities.

Gyory hopes that the WellNest will offer more activities and maybe even classes for students.

Godwin is also trying to relieve student stress by working closely with school counselors and forming personal relationships with students.

“We need to talk about breaking the stigma. Mental illness is a national issue, and it’s an issue that needs to be talked about,” said Dunavant.

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©2018 Eagles' Eyrie - the school newspaper for Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico, VA

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