Top Tips on Supporting Student Wellness
Positive well-being involves the feelings of contentment, happiness and
prosperity. We generally strive for a general feeling of wellness, which includes having a good mental health, keeping our emotions in check, feeling safe, and managing stress. This can be quite challenging the midst of a pandemic.
2020 has definitely brought about a lot of different and unexpected circumstances. With all this change, we undoubtedly have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions. In the past few months, students have had to make some massive adjustments to their learning, such as having online classes at home, and being away from their friends.
The year isn’t over, however, and as schools open their doors to students once again, and we all try to navigate into the uncharted waters of this “new normal,” the struggle is still very much real. All this change can be overwhelming, building negative feelings of anxiety and stress. Here are some useful tips to support students wellbeing in these uncertain times:
Teach students not to be afraid of their emotions. Tell them that they are allowed to react to situations in both a positive or negative manner, and then encourage them to communicate these emotions appropriately. Having students share their feelings gives us a better idea of where they are at, helps explain their mood or performance, and can help identify areas where they may need more assistance.
Talking is a cathartic activity. Talking about your feelings, whether positive or negative, can be a means of release and healing. Communication also opens up an avenue for students to confide in others and realize that they are not alone in feeling the way they do.
Allow students to pause and take a breather every now and then. With everything going on, it is easy to become overwhelmed or even frustrated. Breathers could take the form of meditation, or walks. These are great for your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. A quick break gives you the opportunity to (literally) step away from whatever it is that is stressing you out. It’s a chance to get some fresh air, and gives you a break from the screen and the confines of indoor space.
The lack of social interaction is a new challenge in these pandemic times. Health protocols involving social distancing and staying at home could easily lead to mounting feelings of isolation and loneliness. Provide students with opportunities to talk and interact with each other through collaborative projects and group discussions, these can also be done online without breaking social distancing protocols. Getting students to reach out to their peers is yet another way for students to cope with those negative emotions that affect mental health.
In these uncertain times, schedules and routines can provide a sense of normalcy and stability. As students make their way back to the classrooms, whether physical or online, having a set schedule can provide a sense of structure and consistency. It also helps to make sure that students find time to address other aspects of their being, allotting time for socialisation, exercise, and even self-care.
You perform your best and feel your best when your body is functioning right. Encourage students to get their physical wellbeing in check by making sure they eat right, drink plenty of water, have a good night’s rest, and find time for exercise.
Have students try to create a self-care plan to gain a sense of control that prevents them from being consumed by their emotions. A self-care plan would allow students to acknowledge their feelings, take ownership of their reactions, and then have the autonomy to decide on what to do next. This reflection makes them realise that they are in control of how to respond to challenges, increasing their confidence and a sense of control over their own lives.
Ultimately, taking an interest in the holistic development of students and supporting their wellbeing should leave them feeling listened to, valued, and safe.
About the Jigsaw Company
As a social enterprise, The Jigsaw Company was established to transform the lives of people through powerful and transformational teaching, coaching and mentoring. We support young people by developing their literacy skills through fun, engaging, innovative workshops, programmes and events. Our education services develop competencies and dispositions and raise awareness of the various social issues impacting our communities. We strive to provide individuals with a skill for life to enable them to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. Team Jigsaw is dedicated to enriching and changing the lives of others and also passionate about helping individuals to achieve their personal and professional goals.
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