What is mental wellness?

Mental wellness keeps us going. It’s what gets us through each day and motivates us to push through tough times. That’s why it’s disheartening to see many ignore the importance of mental health in our day-to-day lives.

During the Social Justice Summit, Jesuit High School will reserve a day, “Wellness Wednesday,” to turn focus inward on our own mental wellness. Jesuit will host several activities to help students take their minds off daily stress and focus on their mental health.

One activity will be hosted by Spanish teacher Ms. Sarah Kelso. She will lead yoga sessions each period on Wednesday in order to help students find relaxation from their daily activities.

“Practicing yoga reminds me that peace is found in the present moment, and yoga helps me stay present,” Ms. Kelso said. “I also find that yoga — like sports — quiets my mind. It’s a great form of exercise. I want students to experience a moment of peace in our fast-paced schedules.”

Although most of the sessions on Wellness Wednesday are for students, teachers are also invited to practice staying mentally strong. Cross Country Coach and Math/Biology teacher Mr. Nick Lai believes everyone can benefit from staying mentally healthy.

“Teachers and students spend a lot of time either at school or doing school-related activities, probably more time than they do at home,” Mr. Lai said. “Mental wellness ties directly into how well we can do our jobs teaching or learning.”

Mr. Lai believes that being mentally healthy means being physically healthy. That’s why Mr. Lai will lead a morning run on the American River Trail that is designed to help teachers focus on exercising instead of worrying about problems they’re currently facing.

“For many, exercise is an ideal way to reduce stress,” Mr. Lai said. “It gets the blood flowing in the body, gets rid of pent up energy and releases endorphins in the brain that make us feel better.”

Our lives are hectic. We often put our future desires and happiness over our current needs and well-being. Wellness Wednesday will hopefully reorder our priorities, give us a day of rest, and show us the need to habituate mental wellness.