Mindfulness Club takes its first breaths


Photo by Ayaan Hamid

Mindfulness Club was created during the pandemic for students to find an outlet to de-stress and find calm. Leah Parmas, junior and founder, came up with the idea.

Ayaan Hamid, Bear Facts Contributor

Stress can be an incredibly contributing factor for many students, whether it’s from grades, exams, deadlines, or even more personal issues. Recently, one junior decided to teach others how to overcome the pressure through mindfulness. 

“Mindfulness is the awareness of your consciousness and having that state of being where you want to improve your life,” Leah Parmas, founder of the new Mindfulness Club, said. “It’s just modifying your reality to manifest your highest-self.”

Parmas first began thinking about the possibility of a mindfulness club at LZHS during lockdown.

“I think over quarantine I became more, I guess, mindful. It really inspired me to teach others because there’s so much to [mindfulness, and] you can really get a lot out of it if someone was actually there to support you and give you that kind of outlet to talk about it,” Parmas said.

However, before Parmas could go ahead with her idea, she was required to have a sponsor. The school gave her the names of some potential candidates, which actually prompted one of them to reach out first.

“When I asked [Leah] about [the club], it sounded like something that I wanted the students to have the opportunity to do. [I wanted to help] a student who was trying to bring this to Lake Zurich because I really believe it’s an important thing to practice,” Jen Schmitz, English teacher, said.

The now fully-established Mindfulness Club started to gain momentum and soon enough students like Katelyn Gazdacka, senior, were thinking of joining.

“I first heard about [the club] on Leah’s story about a month ago and I was a bit skeptical at first because I’m kind of an introvert,” Gazdacka said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know who’s going to be there besides Leah’, but I decided to join because I was having a really rough Wednesday and I was like, ‘Okay this club will probably be good for me’.”

It was more than good. It was “game-changing,” according to Gazdacka.

“I was super nervous due to my social anxiety and [during meditation] I didn’t want to close my eyes [and] feel like everyone was staring at me,” Gazdacka said, “But one minute in and I felt the most relaxed I had felt all day, and in that very moment I knew that I needed to attend every single meeting I could.”

But Mindfulness Club isn’t just about meditating and doing yoga, it’s about learning to control anxiety and stress.

“After that we journal-ed and that was even more refreshing because instead of saying like ‘Jot down five bad things’ she said, ‘Jot down five things that brought you energy and five things that brought you negative energy and how can you turn [that] negative energy into positive energy,’” Gazdecka said. “That was really nice to see that you can make bad things into good things.”

Since the club itself is working to help participants achieve flexibility of mind and body, they also embrace flexibility about when members are able to attend meetings.

“You can always come by, you can leave whenever. It’s negotiable, but I definitely would recommend everyone to eventually [come] in and talk [or not] say anything,” Parmas said. “It’s just [about] being present in the moment with everyone around you who also wants to understand what else is out there and what else you can do to really expand yourself.”

Mindfulness Club currently has over fifteen members and meets “whenever I can get a babysitter,” according to Schmitz.

“Right when I got home I bought a journal [and] I started meditating every day, and it’s actually helped me overall as a person with anxiety,” Gazdecka said. “[So] go if you’re having rough anxiety, or any sort of overwhelming thoughts [because] Leah is the sweetest person I know [and] she will welcome you with open arms, [and] If you really set your mind to it, I think it will really benefit you.”