Wellness Center intern Jocelyn Gutierrez wants to help students find their own meaning of mindfulness. “Mindfulness can actually mean a lot of different things,” she said, “but [in general] it is being in-tune with your body, making sure that you’re taking care of yourself and being comfortable and grounded.”
Beginning on March 13, the Wellness Center’s “Mindfulness” and “Mindful Movement” programs are returning to campus for the spring semester under the new catchphrase “Wellness Wednesdays.” These programs aim to teach groups of students healthy ways to manage stress, according to Gutierrez, co-leader of the Mindful Movement program.
Mindful Movement, a drop-in therapeutic yoga class, will be in the Meditation Room (room 127A) during Block 3, and Mindfulness, a 13-week mindfulness course led by RAMS therapist Babe Kawaii-Bogue, Ph.D., will be in the Wellness Center (room 118) during Block 8. To join either program, students can fill out a Google Form that Wellness Center coordinator Carol Chao emailed to the student body in February; however, those interested in attending Mindfulness must undergo a screening process performed by Kawaii-Bogue that will check students’ availability and other factors.
Gutierrez hopes that those pass through this screening will find a comfortable community with which to discuss complicated feelings. The Mindfulness program offers group-based therapy, including lessons on art therapy, mindful eating and walks, journaling and more. “We all have very different emotions: some of us might be internalizers, meaning we keep things to ourselves, or some of us are externalizers, meaning we like to talk about our problems and emotions,” Gutierrez said. “Either way, these groups are safe spaces for students where they can talk about their emotions in a non-judgemental way.”
The Mindfulness program itself is not new to Lowell. In previous semesters, students familiar with the Wellness Center through private counseling or other avenues were offered spots in the group sessions. Now that the Wellness Center is more fully staffed the program can be rolled out on a larger scale for any student who is interested, according to Gutierrez.
Unlike Mindfulness, Mindful Movement is open to any student who wants to drop-in for a yoga session. The program began last semester under a different intern, but Gutierrez hopes to have it up and running again this week. The program trains students in therapeutic yoga, meant to “increase mindfulness, stress management, flexibility, and strength,” according to a Wellness Center flier advertising the program.
Gutierrez typically begins yoga sessions with a full-body scan, a technique used in meditation to relax the body and relieve tension. After working on light stretches, students will transition into a shavasana pose, also called a corpse pose. Light snacks are offered at the ends of sessions.
Gutierrez wants the student body to know that there are wellness resources waiting for them even if they are not free on Wednesdays. “You can drop in for counseling if you can’t make it to one of these groups but you really need support,” she said. “By reaching out to more students and more clubs, we’re hoping to destigmatize mental health and just let students know that we do have these programs and that we want to help.”
The Wellness Center is in Room 118, in the hallway behind the main office.
Link to sign up for Mindful Movement or Mindfulness
Link to submit a referral form for yourself or someone else for one-on-one counseling