Learning balance with Tranquil Tuesday

The final stretch of the school year has arrived and although students and faculty will be coming back rested from spring break, ready to run the last sprint to summer vacation, many know the feeling will be short lived. Without a doubt, students know the fourth quarter will quickly have them working tirelessly writing papers, studying for exams, and preparing to close out another school year.

As seniors await their college acceptances and AP exams loom on the horizon for many, it’s nearly impossible to not feel the pressures and stress of the spring semester hanging in the air. Recognizing and knowing you’re under stress is one thing, but being able to do something about it is another. Concerned with the demanding workloads of our students, TMI’s Personal and College Counselor, Lisa Condrey, began thinking about how she could bring and teach various self-management techniques to the students. She wanted them to have skills “that they could use anytime, anywhere,” she said, “to deal with stress in the moment or learn how to relax themselves.”

It was this train of thought that led Ms. Condrey to introduce the Tranquil Tuesday program to the community this year. But rather than taking time away from lunch or after-school activities, the addition of flex time in the daily schedule provided a perfect opportunity for a time to relax. Tranquil Tuesday now offers both students and faculty a chance to breathe, be mindful, and find balance in their day.

I sat in on one session just before the break. The students slowly filled the seats, some were exhausted from the end of the quarter and others were nervously awaiting their grades, but all of them were looking for a quiet moment to deal with the stress. Ms. Condrey asked the small group what they needed, where they were at in that moment. She offered to guide them through relaxation techniques for a test, progressive muscle relaxation, or an easy countdown to sleep. Drained and exhausted, the students chose an easy countdown to sleep.

Ms. Condrey led us through a few stretching and deep breathing exercises before starting a meditative countdown with guided visualization. Outside the world was chaotic, but inside the chapel during the Tranquil Tuesday session, life came to a quiet pause. It didn’t last long, but it didn’t need to. The relaxing countdown led to a few blissful minutes of peace and rejuvenated us for the rest of the day. As Ms. Condrey gently brought everyone back from our relaxed states, the students expressed their thanks and smiled. They looked calm and refreshed, the weight that was previously on their shoulders now lifted. Some were astounded at just how relaxed they had become, not even aware they were in the chapel as they were slowly coming back from the meditative trance they had fallen into.

Tranquil Tuesdays encourage a mindfulness approach to life, giving students the skills to be aware of how they’re thinking and feeling, moment by moment. Whether students only come once or attend on a regular basis, Ms. Condrey’s goal is to make the session portable and give them something they can take from here to start using on a daily basis. “I hope that this helps them to relax a little bit,” she said, and “at least manage today better than they thought they might have.”

Tranquil Tuesdays
Location: All Saints Chapel
Time: During flex time, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Cant make Tranquil Tuesday during flex time but want to know more about relaxation and stress management? Students are invited to visit Ms. Condrey in Coates Hall, room 215A.

Contributed by Stephanie Livsey
Director of Community Relations, TMI

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