Well-Being Spaces for Teachers and Staff
Make good health a part of everyday life for your teachers and staff by providing them with a dedicated place to take care of their own well-being — relaxation, quiet, social interaction, or collaboration.
Why are well-being spaces essential?
- A well-being space (or wellness space, zen den -whatever you choose to call it) provides an area to relax and recharge during the school day.
- These areas can foster environments that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They can also be a great place to promote staff connection and collaboration.
- A warm, welcoming well-being space is one way to show hardworking school staff and teachers they’re valued and appreciated, which decreases staff stress, boosts morale, and increases job satisfaction.
- Healthy and fulfilled school staff can perform at their best, model emotional regulation for students, and have fewer sick days.
Who can create a well-being space?
- Anyone! It’s recommended you work with teachers and staff, leadership, union partners, wellness teams, and facilities and maintenance.
- It’s important that you gain the proper approval before creating your space. Be sure to connect with school or district leadership first.
“We have received a lot of positive feedback about the wellness space. We regularly see staff using the wellness space puzzles or relaxing on the furniture during their breaks. There are more people in the staff room than prior to the updates. We have received feedback that it is a relaxing space that staff enjoy.”
How to Create a well-being space at your site
Below, you’ll find steps from start to finish for creating your own space! We know that space and funds can be limited, remember, even a dedicated corner with a few items can make a big difference.
☐ Get approval from the principal and/or administrators. Consider being creative with unused space that could be repurposed. Make sure this space is for the adults at the site since it’s designed for their well-being.
☐ Seek input from teachers, staff, and administrators about what they’d most like in their Well-Being Space. Some rooms are for active living, promote relaxation, or foster connection. Remember: Work with facilities and maintenance staff and school administrators early in the planning of the project. Find a sample survey here: Staff Well-Being Space – Educator Survey Sample.
☐ Leverage or consider establishing a wellness committee or champions to implement and maintain the well-being space and support an overall culture of well-being. Consider equity and inclusion for all staff to benefit from the room.
☐ Identify your funding source, partner with local businesses, solicit community donations, or talk to your parent-teacher association. We know that space and funds can be limited, so many of these ideas are low- or no-cost. Even a few small items like some posters or plants can make a big difference.
☐ Take a “before” and “after” picture to celebrate your success.
Design Your Space
Consider the type of well-being space the teachers and staff want at the site, options might include:
☐ Active Living
- Hang a bulletin board to display upcoming staff wellness offerings and healthy activities in the community (5K race, cooking class, farmers market, etc.).
- Take photographs of teachers and staff “thriving” and hang them around the break room to give it a personal feeling and encourage healthy living.
- Put up posters or flyers with links to mini workouts or yoga poses you can do anywhere
- Consider if you have budget for water dispensers, yoga balls, free weights, or resistance bands. Note: Make sure you have a plan for how you are going to maintain the equipment over time.
☐ Promote Relaxation
- Provide comfortable seating and soft lighting.
- Use a Bluetooth speaker and/or sound machine with calm and welcoming music or sounds.
- Put up posters or flyers with links to How to Do Mindfulness Meditation or a guided Love & Kindness Meditation for Educators & Caregivers, Just Like Me (also available in Spanish)
- Consider if you have budget for rugs, pillows, plants, or massage chair.
☐ Foster Connection
- Hang sign-ups or information about group activities or potlucks to encourage connected time together.
- Provide games or puzzels for collaborative fun
- Start a gratitude practice or establish learning opportunities to complete together.
- Create a card-making station with supplies for teachers to share appreciation for one another.
- Consider if you have budget for tables and chairs, lamps, and plants.
Implement Your Space
☐ Ask your principal or leader to announce the space to staff. This message can include an invitation to a grand opening or unveiling event.
☐ Consider a grand opening or an unveiling to show off your new well-being space. A principal-led ribbon cutting with an open house event including other wellness offerings can be a fun way to kick off your new space.
☐ Rotate Wellness Champions or create a sign-up for staff to monitor and maintain the space over time.
☐ Develop a calendar for related well-being events that include on-going promotion of your well-being space. Consider adding Monthly Health Topics | Kaiser Permanente to keep the content fresh and relevant.
☐ Take an “after” picture to share with teachers, staff, and school leadership to promote your room and celebrate your success.
☐ Continue developing your well-being strategy to ensure the on-going well-being of your teachers and staff. If you aren’t sure where to begin, take our Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment to find areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.