The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The ‘Den’ is a 10

Photo Domenica Allarde
Whiteboard decorated with string lights and tapestries to create a calming atmosphere

Zen: (noun) a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition; (adjective) peaceful and calm. When WHS implemented its own “Zen Den,” I wondered just how much the space would reflect its actual definition.

Located on the second floor near the girls’ bathroom off the art hallway (Room 222), I approached the Den to find a friendly administrator on duty outside, who kindly asked me to put my phone in a cubby and to keep talking to a quiet minimum.

Before entering, posters hanging on the door mention the Den’s rules, including an eight-person maximum, no phones, no snacks and no loud talking; it all felt slightly restricting. However, when I stepped into the room, the soft ambiance from fairy lights and a calming smell from drifting essential oils made those rules feel unimportant.

The space was open, embellished with tapestries of nature, salt lamps, bean bag chairs, yoga equipment, noise canceling headphones and twinkling lights. Around the room, different calming activities were available for Den visitors, like aromatherapy, coloring and Play-Doh.

As noted on BDTV, the Zen Den was created to be a space for “leisure and serenity” and the home of “finding inner balance amidst the challenges of high school life,” but I found that the Den was all those things and more.

Where else would I be able to sit on a bean bag with a massage pad and unwind at school? Completely foreign, though completely needed, the Zen Den is a space that students should visit more. My experience at the Den was calming, helped relieve stress and was a way to find silence in an often noisy school environment, just as described.

Before leaving, I asked the administrator if the Den was popular among students. Did my peers know the magic of this hidden room? She immediately nodded, saying that students loved it and it was becoming increasingly popular.

Just seconds later, a group of excited students ran to the room to claim their spots. The Zen Den, WHS’ new hotspot, really is the perfect place to go for a “peaceful escape.”

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