Mindful Mondays matter


Positive messages fill students with motivation as they start their Mindful Monday with a sweet treat. Photo by Caitlin Flynn

From homework to relationships, high school students are under an unprecedented amount of stress. According to the American Psychology Association, Generation Z has almost two times the amount of stress compared to that of their parents, Generation X.  

Recognizing the amount of stress and the importance of mental health, junior Megan Demshuk, seniors Ally Meyers and Emma Finelli, along with Mercy counselors Mrs. Trish Brown and Mrs. Holly Bennetts, initiated Mindfulness Mondays. While Demshuk came to Mrs. Brown with an idea for a club in partnership with the “You Matter” foundation, Mrs. Brown connected her to Meyers and Finelli, who also were looking to begin a club that promoted mental well-being. This collaboration ended with the Mindfulness Monday committee starting in January.

“Mindfulness Mondays are a collection of activities that we do one Monday a month to try and lessen the anxieties and stresses of the school day,” said Demshuk. “We plan things such as art therapy and encouraging greetings to help promote positivity throughout Mercy, create awareness about mental health, and show people that no one is alone.”

Demshuk and other students have joined this Mindfulness Monday committee because chronic stress in their lives affects them daily. Their goal is to  educate students on how to cope with stress and learn to not allow stress to consume them. Other girls help out in different ways. Mercy senior Shayna Jankowski led a yoga class after the first Mindfulness Monday in January.

“My mom had gotten involved with yoga and meditation when I was younger so it has been a part of my life for a while,” said Jankowski. “Although I don’t do yoga consistently, I still use it as a tool to help with stress and anxiety when I feel I need it.”

Students who participated found the session to be beneficial.

“I honestly did not think I was going to get much out of it,” said junior Katherine Najor. “But it actually was very calming and really put unnecessary stress in my life into perspective.”

The after school yoga class is not the only thing the Mindfulness Monday committee has initiated. With calming music from the P.A. system, handing out inspirational quotes attached to Rice Krispie Treats, or even motivational posters in the bathrooms, Mindfulness Mondays hopes to reach students throughout their day.

However, the committee is not stopping there. 

“We are planning a Mindful Monday once each month,” said Demshuk. “We hope that awareness about our message and committee will grow so that we can continue Mindful Mondays next year and expand it.”