LCPS wellness program includes meditation training for teachers

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - With the start of the spring semester looming, the Las Cruces Public Schools district is helping teachers remain calm, teaching them short meditation and breathing techniques to keep them stress free, part of a larger wellness program in the district.

District schools have spent this last week training teachers in mindfulness and general wellness, hoping it helps teachers and students in the classroom.

"Teaching is a super stressful, super stressful job. So one of the ways I've implemented it is a lot of breathing, a lot of pausing, a lot of 'it's ok'," said Nicole Bowen, a social studies teacher at Zia Middle School.

"With large classes, and lots of demand and minimal resources, there's a lot of those they can't control. What they can control is how they respond to life's stressors," explained Amy Himelright, Employee Assistance Program Coordinator.

LCPS is lending teachers a hand, training all their staff on how to be more mindful and centered as they lead their lives, something they hope can have an impact in every school.

"We do it through meditation, we do it through practicing gratitude, we do it through observing nature, we do it through diaphragmatic breathing," Himelright explained.

Teachers are using the principles they learn at these trainings and using them to help their students grow in their own lives.

"One of the ways I've implemented it wit my students is really working on growth mindset. "ow can I get better? I'm not good at this yet." said Bowen.

The district's own insurance system is paying for the classes. District employees told ABC-7 their insurance believes having less stress at work can help them become better educators and even save money.

"We know that stress causes illness and exarcernates illness, so we thoroughly believe that stress reduction will make teachers healthier," Himelright said.

Teachers are also being invited to sign up for an eight week online course following the in person training.

Students return to class Monday.

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