By Jonathan Evans, Executive Director and Sarah Averbeck, Young Adult Leader
While keeping to renewed Covid safe guidelines, this week we hosted our first in-person monthly meeting for our teens since the pandemic started! Our Teen Health Educators and Young Adult Leaders met at Oasis Church Bradenton on Wednesday August 11th, 2021 for team-building, to celebrate our work this summer, receive further training in mindfulness techniques for mental health, and catch-up on the latest opportunities to serve the community.
After a great meal of “build your own pitas”, Ethan Weiss and Stacie Herrera from Herrera Psychology and Telement Teletherapy joined us as our guest speakers, continuing their excellent work with us at our team retreat earlier in the summer. Before the meeting, they met with those interested in what a career in the field of psychology looks like as a career. Stacie Herrera also brought her therapy support dog Ida to the meeting, which had people sharing laughs everywhere!
Our teens work regularly with youth in our community experiencing really difficult mental health challenges, which can affect their own wellbeing as well. Ethan shared a few techniques for grounding our mind through our breath, including the “box breathing” technique of four seconds breathing in, four seconds holding, four seconds breathing out, and a final four seconds holding. This really simple tool was amazingly powerful at enabling us to organize and put words to our own breath, providing a greater sense of mindfulness, the ability to be more fully present, and increase our capacity for the day.
Each of us committed to spending time each day to focus on our breathing, as a way of creating perspective to each moment we face. When might your time be: when you wake up or before you go to bed, when you perform a certain activity, or even while eating a particular meal. Give it a try!
If you want to get a sense of the fun we have together, look no further than our team-building games. If you’ve ever tried to look a peer in the eye and say “pterodactyl” while not showing your teeth, then you’ll know what we mean (and you were probably at the meeting!).
There are always so many opportunities with Healthy Teens to get involved in the community. Don’t forget to book your tickets for this Saturdays’ “Healthcare Heroes” night at LECOM Park, the home of the Bradenton Marauders! $4 of every ticket purchased through the link below goes to Healthy Teens, and you get a free ball cap and drink thrown in!