Mind and Balance club stresses importance of de-stressing

Mind+and+Balance+club+founder%2C+senior+Elenna+Peroni%2C+explains+her+goal+in+creating+the+Mind+and+Balance+club+during+their+first+meeting+of+the+year.

Ava Ellis

Mind and Balance club founder, senior Elenna Peroni, explains her goal in creating the Mind and Balance club during their first meeting of the year.

Jasmine Yee, Staff Writer

Led by seniors Elenna Peroni and Hannah Mathew, the Mind and Balance club seeks to help balance overwhelming stress and anxieties with calming activities and art. 

Club president Peroni and vice president Mathew create simple and easy activities that can help any student relax. According to Mathew, one of the most memorable activities they’ve done was creating stress balls.

“Activities like stress balls are a great way for people to de-stress and calm down,” Mathew said. “Putting stress through art helps a lot because it calms people down and [their emotions] can be expressed.”

Club members have also created oil paintings while listening to relaxing jazz music.

“[Jazz music] provides a calming sense for students,” Mathew said. “[They] were able to zone out for 15 minutes and not worry about anything and recollect at the end with no pressure.”

According to Peroni, it is vital for students to find ways to de-stress themselves from cumulative everyday obstacles. By conducting these therapeutic activities, Peroni and Mathew provide students with that stress reducing environment. According to Peroni, these activities are a great coping mechanism for when someone feels unwell, both mentally and physically.

“Mental health is something that should be given more awareness,” Peroni said. “Doing little bits of 15-minute activities two times a month with people really helps you calm yourself down.”

The Mind and Balance club meets twice a month to create art and participate in mindfulness activities. Peroni and Mathew host these gatherings to unify special and regular education students and create calming experiences to combat unhealthy stress levels. 

“In a way, [the Mind and Balance club] is directed towards the special education department because I believe that they deserve more attention as a whole within the school,” Peroni said. “With my club, students can have more awareness with kids from IDDs [an intellectual or developmental disability].”

The Mind and Balance club prides itself on being an inclusive place for all kinds of students, from people with IDDs to new students from foreign countries. 

“Kids who move from another country and don’t know English might come to [the Mind and Balance club] and do a really fun activity with people they don’t know, which provides a great social interaction space,” Peroni said. 

Peroni first came up with the idea to start this club when she had surgery on her foot during her sophomore year. She talked to her physical therapist who recommended sensory activities to de-stress and realized it was a good club idea. 

“I was trying to find ways to de-stress myself because I would get stressed all the time from missing my classes,” Peroni said. “With sensory activities, I was able to de-stress a little every day.”

Peroni then went to Mathew to see if she was interested in helping her bring the idea to life.

Kids who move from another country and don’t know English might come to [the Mind and Balance club] and do a really fun activity with people they don’t know, which provides a great social interaction space.”

— Club founder Elenna Peroni

“When Elenna reached out to me to say the club’s mission statement, I knew right away I wanted to [help],” Mathew said. “I wanted to make a club that would make an impact on the school, not just to put it on college applications and have it be done after graduation.” 

Mathew’s role as vice president has changed her perspective on art and the effect it can have on mental health.

“I like helping people,” Mathew said. “Before this, I never thought about de-stressing through art…After doing the activities, it really changed my mind about art. People think you have to be good at it which is untrue. Art is art.”

Much of Peroni’s inspiration for Mind and Balance club activities is from the therapeutic methods her 10-year-old autistic brother, Ennzo Peroni, uses to de-stress. Peroni also does Special Olympics with him which has further influenced the activities and projects she’s created for club members. 

“[My experiences involve] working with the cognitive social mind and how people can interact and behave,” Peroni said. “I experience this every day with my brother.”

Peroni and Mathew are currently working on creating new activities for future club meetings. They plan to run an activity in which students will put a leaf under aluminum foil or plastic bags and paint over it. The two leaders want to further advertise the club through Instagram posts and posters.

“Now, after a year of working in this club, we have a better understanding of what we’re doing and have a plan for what we are going to do this year,” Mathew said. “This year, we are going to be more prepared and have a set foundation.”

It is very important to Peroni and Mathew that the Mind and Balance club continues to thrive after they graduate this year, because the club provides a platform for students to connect and interact with each other in a relaxing environment. 

“The Mind and Balance club is not just a club,“ Mathew said. “It is a way to bring everyone together and interact with each other and make friends.”