Supporting young people’s mental health as back to school becomes a reality

HollyTree Yoga and Wellbeing Services is a local Community Interest Company based in Hastings, Bexhill and St Leonards and will again be offering Yoga, Mindfulness and Wellbeing classes to children and teenagers from September 24th. 

Their ethos centres around supporting the health and wellbeing of families and this September the focus will very much be on helping youngsters to process and manage their emotions and wellbeing during this period of what they describe as , ‘unprecedented uncertainty and change’. 

Liz Boardman of HollyTree says: “For many children, this will be helping them transition back to in-person learning in the classroom which can throw up feelings of worry, anxiety and stress, while for others, such as those who are home-schooled, HollyTree will be offering ways to help manage feelings of isolation and fears about health and the future as the autumn term gets underway.

“Some young people have not stepped foot in a classroom since March this year, while others only had a month or so of in-person education in a very different school environment to what they had been used to – and with just weeks to go until term starts, the prospect of getting used to another ‘new normal’ will be leaving a huge impact of young people’s mental health.”

Liz says this will be particularly true for those aged 11-12 as they are due to move up to secondary school, having finished their primary school years during a global pandemic resulting in huge disruption to the end of their days at their old school, often meaning they missed out on many if not all of the usual highlights and rites-of-passage that make up the end of Year 6. 

“For other young people, the Covid–19 lockdown has been a hugely disruptive and anxiety-inducing experience, seeing them be cut off from friends and activities which in some cases has led to isolation and feelings of negativity and worry,” says Liz. 

“Numerous studies have shown that mindfulness – the practice of being present in the moment – and yoga are hugely helpful to children and young people and even those aged as young as four years old get so much out of these activities,” she says. 

Liz explains that the benefits of mindfulness include improved attention and memory, reduced stress, a calmer mind and better overall mental health and it can even lower disruptive and bullying behaviour in schools.

She explains that Yoga helps us to relax and strengthen our bodies which also reduces stress and can give us renewed energy and confidence.

In addition to these two core areas, HollyTree classes also use songs, art-based activities, interactive games, and storytelling to make it very fun and engaging for children of all ages.

Hollytree classes are currently running online using Zoom until January 2021 when they plan to start live classes again in the Hastings and St. Leonards area. 

Their Zoom class timetable for September 2020 will be: 

  • Kids (aged 4-7) – Thursdays 4pm-5pm
  • Kids (aged 8-12) – Thursdays 4pm-5pm
  • “Tween” Girls & Boys (aged 11-12) – Thursdays 4pm-5pm
  •  Teen Girls (aged 13-16) – Fridays 4:45pm – 6:15pm

HollyTree will also be running a parents-only class on a Tuesday evening 7.45-9.15pm – the chance for parents and carers to take some much-needed time out for themselves to relax and renew and meet new people.

  • For more information and to book online please visit www.hollytreeyoga.com. Free taster sessions are available for all classes.
  • You can also follow HollyTree on FacebookTwitter and instagram using the handle @hollytreeyoga. 
  • Hollytree relies heavily on donations and grants in order to run – if you would like to support them financially you can contact hello@hollytreeyoga.com

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