DeStress Monday at School: Self-Care and Stress Reduction Techniques Dedicated to Teachers and Students

To students, teachers are like superheroes. And it’s not hard to imagine why. Every day, teachers come to school with an inspiring energy that electrifies their classrooms and stimulates a desire to learn. But teachers are people, too, and they can benefit by dedicating time at the beginning of the week to recharge and prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. It’s especially important to help them manage the high levels of stress that they’re likely to experience as they start this new school year, after navigating the challenges of the pandemic.

The DeStress Monday at School program was designed to support teachers and educators by helping them carve out moments of self-care every Monday. Through a series of practices created by Johns Hopkins University and The Monday Campaigns, the DeStress Monday at School program helps teachers and their students start every week with a new tool for managing stress.

But what makes DeStress Monday at School unique is that it can be implemented in the classroom or at home, by both teachers and students. This approach offers teachers the flexibility to take advantage of meditations, deep-breathing techniques, positive affirmations, and other stress-relief practices whenever they are needed. And although the program was originally designed as a 9- to 10-week series, it can be extended up to 20-weeks by spacing out practices over a longer period.

An initial pilot program was launched in three Baltimore City public schools, where fifty teachers were introduced to the DeStress Monday at School practices over a 9-week period. The program rollout involved emailing the materials (typically 2-3 practices focused on mindfulness, self-care, or stress relief) on Sunday so that the teachers could become familiar with them in advance and use them on Monday. Positive feedback from post-pilot focus groups confirmed the feasibility and interest in the program.

Today, DeStress Monday at School is available as a free resource to schools all across the country for their teachers and students. The easy-to-use web-based format makes accessing materials quick and simple. Click here to learn how your school, organization, or household can adopt a Healthy Monday cue and start reducing stress this week.