MICDS Employees Practice Mindfulness and Well-being Virtually

Leave it to MICDS employees to adapt and embrace this distance learning chapter in more creative ways than ever! The new pace and format of the school day have called for a new take on how faculty and staff are supporting one another’s well-being. Check out a few of the many ways that MICDS employees are taking care of themselves and each other so that they can take even better care of our Rams students!

Mindful Tea

Faculty and staff are invited to attend two “Mindful Tea” sessions each week that allow them to focus on mindfulness. These meetings, implemented via Zoom, are conducted by Middle School Learning Specialist Susan Taylor-Alonso and Lower School Learning Specialist and Counselor Ashley O’Toole. “We feel it is important that during this time of distance, our faculty and staff feel that they have a space to come to connect and be supported,” said Ms. Taylor-Alonso. “By offering an opportunity to reconnect, we hope that our community members will have a safe space to replenish and attend to any feelings that come with this unprecedented change in our lives. ”

For 15 minutes at the start of the day, attendees are guided through a series of mindful moments in the following order:

  • Greeting
  • Check-in: mood meter
  • Reflection/Inspiration
  • Gratitude
  • Meditation

In Thursday’s morning session, after greeting one another, Ms. Taylor-Alonso displayed a mood meter, asking participants to anonymously fill out a poll to share which color their current mood was grouped in that morning. After showing the results, she acknowledged the feelings of the participants and shared how students might be feeling in this first week back from spring break. An example of the mood meter can be seen here:

Next, the learning specialists showed an inspirational piano song written and performed by the husband of an MICDS teacher. To an upbeat tune, the song encouraged that we “keep on smiling” and that we will get through this interesting time together. What a great way to lift spirits!

Prior to concluding with a meditation practice from Dr. Marc Brackett of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, participants used the chat feature to share what they were grateful about. Here are a few of their responses:

“I’m grateful for the medical professionals and first responders who are helping so many people in this crisis.” – Mr. Scott Herrmann-Keeling

“I am grateful for the beauty of spring.” – Ms. Barb Spieler

“Faith, love, connection with others – even if remotely.” – Ashley O’Toole

I’m grateful to have a job that I really enjoy.” – Ms. Claire Sherman

I’m so grateful for the people working so hard in our hospitals, grocery stores and on the front line.” – Louise Jones

“Grateful for computers, connecting through Facebook and texting.” – Ms. Kathy Brugere

“I’m so grateful for our community supporting everyone and conducting school as intentionally as possible.” – Ms. Crystal D’Angelo 

Thank you to our Student Support staff who are not only supporting students, but are supporting our faculty and staff! If you’ve never started your morning with a “Mindful Tea” session, what a positive difference it makes to start your day!

Virtual Yoga

Throughout the year, MICDS offers employees various exercise classes. One offering that has adapted to the times of distance learning is our yoga class. Taught by Yoga Instructor and Middle & Lower School Drama Teacher Missy Heinemann, employees can tune in via Zoom every Wednesday to Ms. Heinemann’s virtual yoga class free of charge. To see a few of the poses, check out a few of the photos from previous in-person yoga classes.

Thank you to our Human Resources Department and to Ms. Heinemann for providing this opportunity to MICDS faculty and staff!

Walker Tracker Competition

In the fall, employees competed on teams of seven to earn the most steps and exercise points for being active, all tracked on an application called “Walker Tracker.” Ultimately, the team with the most points earned bragging rights and a gift certificate to the Campus Store.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, MICDS Human Resources has organized an individual competition using the Walker Tracker app again. From April 1 through April 29, employees can register with the app to have their exercise points counted. This time, the competition stakes are for fun and bragging rights. It’s only a few days into the competition and some participants have already racked up over 20,000 steps! For those who are even more competitive, you can challenge others through the app or website. You can even challenge another department against your department, too!

Thanks to our fellow faculty and staff who are hopping, skipping, jumping, stretching and meditating as we lean into our distance learning adventure! #RamsTogether