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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 81 now is the time that will happen. Preplan your responses. Your presentation will be over in 10 minutes. Then, you can shake it off and get to the task of setting up shop. Find a room You'll need a dedicated space to keep your stuff and create a relaxing feel. By some incredible magic, we got a windowless, incredibly hot room a little bit bigger than a bathroom, but we set up good lighting, a fan, the right number of tables, nice music, and appropriate décor. This room has been ours since 2012. Our room could have been near the gymnasium with the screaming of basketball players. Or it could have been in a far-flung corner where most students never go, which would have made the room kind of creepy and weird. We got lucky. You might get lucky too. Whatever room you get, make sure it has a lockable door that only you and your fellow volunteers can access. Promote your wellness room The same way you promote anything, promote your wellness room. Use a website, Facebook, emails, texts, etc. We have homespun, but effective, little signs we put out in the hall to remind everyone we are there that day. I email a reminder to the assistant principal for morning announcements the week prior. Our door also has a calendar with our schedule written on it in dry-erase marker. One of our greatest cheerleaders is the school nurse, who sees me coming and says joyfully, "It's YOU! I'll put out a note to the teachers!" and helps us get permission slips for students filled out by calling students' parents or guardians and getting verbal permission over the phone. Build rapport The hardest part is waiting, which any of us who have our own businesses know too well. There you sit, wanting to be a blessing, and you're being ignored. Does this mean you go home early? No, it does not. You hang out (either in the room or in the hall) and smile—you build rapport. What does it take to establish rapport? What would create the trust you crave that gets staff and students on your table and into your eager, happy hands? If your room is currently empty, maybe just say hi to the teacher next door, or go into the office under the guise of getting a copy of the semester schedule and chat up the administrative assistant. (Remember, she's busy. Make it a brief chat). Or, amble to the reception desk to see if Angela wouldn't mind 10 minutes of neck and shoulder massage. You will learn amazing things about the ergonomics of her desk, the details of her son's near-miss on Route 95 this past weekend, and the importance of not staring at her computer screen because, you know, boundaries. THE MINDSET Have you worked a wellness or health fair? The work you do in a public environment, where time is limited and folks are just getting a taste of your work, is markedly different from the in-depth time you spend with your paying clients. That health fair mentality is a good way to frame your approach, as you begin to talk to people about your wellness room, and when you open your doors. Here are some tips: • Hold your personal and professional boundaries firmly. There are many scenarios in which being overly friendly or concerned could be tragically misconstrued. • Have protocols in place. The door to the room is never completely shut. A teenager is never to be alone in the room with an adult. (One of the many reasons I prize my co-volunteer Derek. We have each other's back—sometimes literally, depending on how crowded the room gets.) Permission slips to participate must be reviewed and signed by a parent or guardian and returned for anyone under 18. Plus, you'll need to have them on file. "My parents would think it's fine" is not your go-ahead. Be strict about paperwork. • Be flexible. When you run a wellness room in a school, you are on that school's schedule. (Have you looked at a school schedule lately? It's insane. Things are timed out to the odd minute, to the :02 and the :12 and the :38.) You're not helping if a student or staff member tells you they only have 10 minutes, and you keep them there for 15. The stress of being late is counterproductive when receiving a massage. • Be on board. Most schools require a background check for anybody who steps into the school to work. Some schools require a background check and fingerprinting too. If those are the rules, play ball. Also, remember that other school services trump yours. If a student has a mental health issue, or the work they receive uncovers heavy emotional stuff, walk them to the guidance office. A wellness room can be opened almost anywhere—a corporate complex, a behavioral science wing of a hospital, a room in a synagogue—even a high school, which is where I opened mine.

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