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Cecil Rhodes is keeping calm to carry on

April 22, 2021
Cecil Rhodes - Mindfulness - Banner (Supplied)

Cecil Rhodes School starts each week with a mindful moment.

Every Monday, Cecil Rhodes guidance counsellor Connie Miron delivers an exercise in mindfulness over the school’s intercom system. 

Miron said the mindful moments are approximately three to five minutes long and consist of such activities as quiet reflection, deep breathing and guided visualizations.

“You can hear a pin drop. Even the custodians stop,” Miron said. “Mindful Moment Mondays gives us time and permission to slow down, stop and pay attention to ourselves in the moment.”

Miron started delivering mindful moments to Cecil Rhodes students and staff in early 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning period put a pause on the project. When students came back to school in September, Mindful Moment Mondays picked up where it left off.  

“It helps with self-regulation,” Miron said. “Mindfulness activities can increase self-esteem as well. It gives people tools to deal with life’s stresses. It’s obviously not a quick fix, but if you can teach people how to slow down and pay attention to what’s going on in their minds and in their bodies, then you’re paving the way for self-awareness. It’s just another tool in the toolbox of dealing with our emotional stressors and improving our mental wellness.”

In addition to Mindful Moment Mondays, Miron leads weekly meditation drop-in sessions during lunch hour with Cecil Rhodes’ staff. 

Miron said she currently meditates about five times a week and has been meditating for 20 years. 

“It helps put things in perspective,” Miron said. “You realize there’s all these constant thoughts in your head, but they’re just thoughts. You don’t have to react to all of them. You can sit back and become an observer of your life without reacting to every little thing.”

Miron believes that through meditation and mindfulness, people can learn to be in the present moment, without getting caught up in the moment. 

“It’s OK to be in the moment. You’re not going to lose it and things aren’t going to fall apart,” Miron said.  

Miron plans to set up a calming room in Cecil Rhodes, where she can deliver mindful moments to smaller groups of students. 

“It would be for the students who have self-regulation issues or the anxious students who worry a lot,” Miron said. “We might do some deep breathing, some yoga and some reflection, just like we do in the adult meditation sessions, but kid-friendly.”

Mindful moments are practiced in most schools across Winnipeg School Division as part of its Healthy Minds initiative.

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