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Wellness Day provides positive shift towards balance for students

Gathered in rows across Souby Lawn, Harpeth Hall students eased their arms overhead. They moved right and then left, turning their bodies in the gentle, distinctive movements of Tai Chi.

The mid-afternoon martial arts practice was one of the activities for Upper School Wellness Day, which also included sessions in self-defense and Zumba, tools for self-care and stress reduction, a discussion about teen mental health, and more.

“Wellness Day is important for students because it provides professional help, advice, and knowledge about critical, modern-day issues that most of our students face,” Harpeth Hall senior Kendall Burch said. “In our society today, we often submerge our feelings, but Wellness Day tries to reverse that by presenting useful information. We get to acknowledge our feelings in a supportive environment. In other words, Wellness Day presents an opportunity for us to take a break from our regular schedule and focus on important aspects of our life through engaging talks, presentations, and activities.”

The Harpeth Hall counseling department has a long history of special events created to educate the Upper School students on topics related to health and wellness. This year’s Wellness Day offered Upper School students practical activities and time to reflect on how they may weave those activities into their daily lives.

A session on social health looked at how students can support one another in healthy ways, using open dialogue to create stronger

connections with friends while still prioritizing their own wellbeing. Another session focused on helping students identify their emotions and offered tips and tricks for navigating emotionally-charged situations. Zumba offered an energetic break with a dance party that incorporated Latin and world rhythms, while a session in self-defense taught basic martial arts moves.

“We know that cultivating a balanced life supports healthy choices in all areas,” Harpeth Hall Director of Counseling Fran Maddox said. “We hope that these workshops provide students with the education and tools to make at least one positive shift toward a more balanced, creative, peaceful, and self-compassionate existence.”

For Kendall, the messages of Wellness Day resonated with her and she wanted to share that same feeling with her classmates.

“Learning to love yourself can be very difficult,” she said, “but it is the most rewarding and useful thing you can do. Prioritize your health in any way you can. Talk to the teachers so they can meet you where you are and help in any way possible. Lean on your classmates. Practice spreading love and positivity, and you, too, will receive those feelings. Know that you are worth it and absolutely loved.”