De-Stress Day was held on Friday, April 12, during a seminar at Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Several hundred students attended the activities organized by fellow students Connie Chen (11), Victoria Neal (11), Izzy Orsay (11), Trey Fruend (12), and Peter Stergios (12). The event was comprised of three relaxing exercises including coloring, a movie room, and quality time with therapy dogs.
A favorite of the morning was the session with the therapy dogs. Two organizations, CHAMP Dogs and Dogs on Duty, donated their time by bringing a total of ten therapy dogs for students to play with. Additionally, in the movie room, students enjoyed the quiet, mellowing environment of a movie theater as Zootopia played on the “big screen”. In the final room, more participants of the day took the opportunity to embrace the calm and solitary activity of coloring.
“I am very happy that so many people showed up, and how big their smiles were when they saw the therapy dogs,” Connie Chen said. “I am glad that I contacted the therapy dog organizations and that they were willing to support De-Stress Day. It was a lot of fun.”
Chen planned this De-Stress Day at the beginning of February 2019 as one of the initiatives of the De-Stress and Wellness Club. Efforts of Chen and her classmates were supported by their teacher sponsors, Janet Duckham and Bob Westerholt. De-Stress and Wellness Club meets every other week with the goal of promoting strong mental health and providing guidance on eliminating stress. The group has hosted two other De-Stress days with the previous one having been held in December 2018 and consisting of yoga, coloring, a game room, a nap room, and meditation. With so much buzz and excitement around the activities, the plan is to continue De-Stress Day on an annual or bi-annual basis.
“I hope to help students learn about different ways to de-stress,” Chen said. “This will help them in the future because college can possibly be an even more stressful environment for students than high school. I want to make sure that people know how to de-stress so that they are prepared for the future.”