#TakeABreakPA aims to promote student well-being

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    Assistant Principal of Innovation and Learning Kathleen Laurence, guidance counselor Charles Taylor, math teacher Deanna Chute, science teacher Josh Bloom and principal Kim Diorio participate in the #TakeABreakPA campaign by posting a photo on Twitter during the Staff Holiday Luncheon on Dec. 3. Photo courtesy of Kim Diorio.

    A new campaign is aiming to promote a culture of wellness and self-care among students and staff at Palo Alto High School.

    The #TakeABreakPA campaign is an initiative designed to promote stress reduction during the week of final exams, according to junior Spirit Commissioner Cezanne Lane. Students can participate simply by posting images on social media of their “break,” when they are relaxing or rejuvenating, and tagging it with hashtag #TakeABreakPA.

    “I have been working with [science teacher] Mr. [Josh] Bloom, several yoga and mindfulness teachers and professionals to provide a range of accessible, on-campus mindfulness, meditation and yoga opportunities for students and staff,” Lane said. “We were hoping that through this publicity campaign we could promote students to prioritize self-care and make it the norm.”

    Not only are students encouraged to find enjoyment through relaxing activities, but to also prioritize their well-being in general, according to Lane. The campaign’s main goal is to bring the various activities that students do for their enjoyment to light.

    “I think the campaign is a good idea because during finals time most people don’t do anything but study 24/7,” junior Gaby Pelayo said. “It’s really necessary to take a break. People can push themselves way too much.”

    English teacher and Yoga and Mindfulness Club adviser Lucy Filppu says the campaign can initiate a positive change in Paly’s culture. Filppu also dedicates a few minutes each class period to meditation.

    “It will change the social norms of what it looks like to be a happy kid,” Filppu said. “It will be very good for me to take time to take care of myself and have some fun, so I will submit a picture.”

    Though the campaign is only happening at Paly this year, Lane hopes that the same culture to prioritize self-care will spread to Gunn High School in the following years.

    “It’s just about prioritizing yourself and making a habit of taking care of your well-being,” Lane said. “We just started it [at] Paly and would love if the enthusiasm to prioritize self-care remains for many years to come.”

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