In order to reduce feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem, a group of students from Pengwern College were provided with a chance to learn some relaxation skills, as well as social skills which included listening to each other and expressing individual opinions in a group setting. This was due to the tendency of immaturity surrounding the discussions of feelings and serious topics.
Following on from this observation, a six week program was delivered to look at developing a comfortable forum for discussing feelings and listening to one another, as well as undertaking practical tasks and relaxation activities.
Each session consisted of a group ice breaker topic, in which a ball was passed to the group member who was speaking and everyone was encouraged to take a turn (students and staff). Additionally, a short paper based task was utilised to encourage group members to think about their wellbeing and ways to improve it.
During one of the weeks, the students created some stress balls using rice, cotton wool and tapioca to create different textures.
They also considered the 5 ways to wellbeing which they represented visually, by drawing round their hands and labelling each finger with one of the key ways.
For the last part of each session, they engaged in pampering and relaxation activities such as using the foot spa, nail painting, face masks and the offer of deep pressure head and shoulder massages. This was accompanied by a low stimulus environment with calming music, low light and calming scents, such as lavender. Students took it in turns to pick their favoured activity.
The students also used a variety of techniques to learn about deep breathing such as ‘rainbow breathing and finger breathing’. They were even given an opportunity to engage in chair yoga!
As a result, the students generally became more comfortable in sharing ideas and thoughts with one another and grew in confidence to try the different relaxation techniques on offer.