Virtual Wellness Day tackles quarantine sadness

Wellness Day is a key part of GCHS culture.

Oldenburg+posted+Wellness+Day+videos+on+Schoology+for+all+students+during+eLearning.

Oldenburg posted Wellness Day videos on Schoology for all students during eLearning.

Henry Rowe , Staff Reporter

Traditions help define a group. Grayslake Central has our own fair share of traditions, such as the Best Buddies basketball game and state send-offs. One such tradition is Wellness Day. Wellness Day is a key part of GCHS culture. The Student Assistance Program Coordinator Kate Oldenburg is in charge of Wellness Day. 

Oldenburg explains that “Wellness Day started five years ago when we decided that the spring season is a time where a lot of people get stressed out, they start to get antsy for summer, and they have to stress for AP tests and standardized tests. So, we decided as a school that we were going to take a morning just to do things that are fun and relaxing for our students. We try to offer 50 sessions most are run by our staff members, but there’s also some people from our community come in. The way it works is students can pick one large or two smaller sessions.”

Wellness day is a key part of the end of the year at our school. It allows for students to choose activities that they think suits them best for a morning to celebrate wellness activities. 

Many freshmen don’t fully understand Wellness Day, as the day typically takes place in April during which GCHS was eLearning this year.

“I’m really saddened by the fact that this year’s freshman class didn’t get to experience Wellness Day this year because it’s become a very nice tradition within our school. The Monday after we were called off from school I was scheduled to be in freshman transition to tell the freshman all about what Wellness Day is and how to sign up. I’m just now kind of releasing ‘my god, the whole freshman class hardly knows what Wellness Day is,” said Oldenburg.

This year Oldenburg planned for a large variety of choices for her students via a Virtual Wellness Day initiative. Members of the GCHS community made videos highlighting their wellness activities and submitted them to Oldenburg as features for an ongoing wellness celebration.

“This year we literally had everything from archery to Zumba. The goal was to have things that a wide variety of students would enjoy. We had some things that were physically active, somewhere artistic, there was going to be a motivational speaker coming in.” said Oldenburg.

While students may want to improve their mental health in different ways, all of us still need to make sure we take care of our wellness. With the vast amount of stress imposed on us by the canceling of our schools, clubs, and other activities, alongside the fear of contracting the virus, now is a very easy time to lose sight of our mental health. Oldenburg feels quarantine has been hard on our mental wellness

“I think it’s been tough on our students. Beyond working at Grayslake Central, I also work as a therapist, and I work with primarily teenagers. And I think that there’s a lot of students who are really struggling to adapt and mourn the things that this virus has taken from them. Although, there have been some things to come out of this that were kind of unexpected, such as students connecting more with family and getting involved in new hobbies. I’ve had both students and clients tell me about new hobbies during this time that they feel they probably wouldn’t have without the changes to all of our lives. Even then a majority of the teens I talk to are really just waiting for this to be done.” said Oldenburg.

Wellness Day is the highlight of Oldenburg’s year. This gives her the drive to ensure next year’s Wellness Day is extra special.

“I’m planning on next year’s Wellness Day being even better than ever. I think when we are in a situation where we can let Wellness Day run like we normally do. It is my favorite day of the school year because I get to walk around and see what’s happening at all of these cool sessions and see all of the people just laughing, smiling and having a great time,” said Oldenburg.