Mindful Mondays, a new activity to help students slow down and become more mindful, has started up on Southern Utah University’s campus.
Held every Monday, two 10 minute sessions are hosted via Zoom from 12:50-1 p.m. and 1:50-2 p.m. The sessions end on the hour so students and staff can join in between classes.
Associate Professor of Biology Helen Boswell-Taylor and Mental Health Support Peer Karina Nay teamed up to host the sessions to help students calm down and focus on their breathing.
“We wanted to make it convenient and include a short little activity they could do on their own time,” Boswell-Taylor said.
The first Mindful Mondays session began on Jan. 25. The guided meditation only takes about five minutes. According to Boswell-Taylor, psychological research shows that these exercises can help improve memory retention and focus, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
“It first focuses on your breathing and then goes into feeling different parts of your body, like from your head down to your toes,” Boswell-Taylor said. “It helps you notice how you’re feeling without any judgment.”
The biology professor has taught at SUU since 1999, and has been a member of the Care and Support Team since 2016.
“In 2018 I was feeling a lot of stress, and someone mentioned that it would be great if we could do something with Mindfulness,” Boswell-Taylor said. “I raised my hand and said, ‘I’ll do it because I think I need it.’”
After getting a script of exercises approved by Counseling and Psychological Services, Boswell-Taylor began inviting people walking by the Leavitt Center to participate.
Because of COVID-19, Boswell-Taylor chose Zoom as the platform so that students and faculty can tune in from their phones. Last semester, Boswell-Taylor hosted these activities weekly, although they were only available for faculty.
“Karina reached out and said, ‘I heard you’re interested in doing this for faculty, maybe we can combine forces.’ Which is great, because now we can do two sessions and I think students will really benefit from it,” Boswell-Taylor said.
Nay and Boswell-Taylor will alternate running the sessions and plan to modify the activities so they aren’t the exact same every week.
In addition to Mindful Mondays, CAPS offers a Mindfulness Self Compassion Group for students wanting to improve their relationship with themselves. This drop-in group is held every Thursday from noon to12:50 p.m.
“[Students] should feel good about making time for themselves. Mindfulness is something I use in my daily life,” Boswell-Taylor said. “I think as a student especially, it’s a really great way to slow down for part of the day.”
Those interested in Mindful Mondays can join via Zoom here and enter 101202 for the passcode.