- 8 ways teachers can support students mental health during COVID-19 school returns
- Emphasize self-care
- FAQs about: mental health tips for back to school
Feeling anxious about the new school year? You’re not alone. From adjusting to virtual classes to juggling extracurriculars, the start of the school year can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to ensure you start the school year feeling mentally healthy and prepared.
Quick facts: Mental Health Tips For Back To School
- ✅ According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness (NAMI, 2020).
- ✅ The American Academy of Pediatrics found that the most common mental health conditions among children and adolescents are depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and disruptive behavior disorders (AAP, 2018).
- ✅ In 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. had mental health issues that caused functional impairment in the past year (HHS, 2020).
- ✅ A 2019 survey by the American Psychological Association found that 43% of adults have experienced mental health issues due to stress related to the coronavirus pandemic (APA, 2019).
- ✅ Parenting for Success, a national program in the UK, found that parents who used their tips for children aged 4-14 saw an average improvement of 32% in children’s mental health wellbeing (Parenting for Success, 2018).
8 ways teachers can support students mental health during COVID-19 school returns
Going back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique challenge for students, parents, and teachers. With this in mind, it’s essential for teachers to be prepared to support the mental health of their students. Here are some practical ways teachers can help their students cope with the transition back to school:
- Build strong and meaningful relationships with your students: Establishing positive connections with your students will let them know you care about their well-being.
- Prioritize open communication: Make sure your students know they can come to you if they need extra help or emotional support during this difficult transition period.
- Keep things flexible: Be mindful that everyone is dealing with different situations and challenges during this time and may need extra flexibility when it comes to class assignments or deadlines.
- Be aware of potential health issues: Recognizing signs of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns can help ensure your student gets the care they need as soon as possible.
- Set realistic expectations: Setting goals that are achievable will give your student a sense of accomplishment without feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks at once.
- Create a stress-free learning environment: Create an atmosphere that promotes learning without adding additional pressure onto your students by ensuring there is no shame in making mistakes or asking questions.
- Encourage self-care activities: Encourage healthy outlets such as exercising, journaling, and talking things out with a friend in order ensure they find ways to de-stress while managing their workloads.
- Utilize available resources: Take advantage of resources such as counseling services, online support groups, or other community programs designed to help address any issues that may arise for your student throughout the year.
Transitioning back to in-person classroom learning
As school districts and colleges across the country transition back to in-person classroom learning, it’s important to practice good mental health. This can include both physical and emotional health practices.
It’s important to keep up with self-care, such as exercise, sleep, eating healthy foods and spending time outdoors. Additionally, it’s important to build a support network of family, friends or people from your school or community who you can turn to for help and support when needed. Having a reliable support system is critical for success and maintaining mental health during this time of change.
Taking the time to build these relationships in advance can ensure that you have someone to lean on when times get tough.
One way to help children who may be struggling with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder is to create a safe space for them to openly and honestly share their feelings. Knowing that they have an outlet to talk about the difficulties they’re facing can be incredibly helpful and can provide them with the opportunity to express their emotions in a non-judgemental space.
It’s also important for children with bipolar disorder to have consistent access to services, such as therapy or medication management, that can help them manage their condition and keep it under control. Provide your child will all necessary resources available for mental health so that they can effectively manage their symptoms and live life to the fullest.
Listen more, talk less
When it comes to physical activity and wellness, it is important to listen to your body so that you can find the exercise that is right for you. Listen more, talk less: pay attention to the signals from your body, what sensations you’re feeling, and how it affects your overall mood. You don’t have to jump on the most popular workout or follow a specific fitness trend—find activities that work for you and make them part of your regular routine.
Some people like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), while others prefer yoga or taking a brisk walk on their lunch break. Whatever activity you choose, make sure it fits into your lifestyle and doesn’t become an obligation—do something that is pleasant and enjoyable. Take time in the beginning to try different activities until you find one that works for you; this could be running with friends in the morning or taking a dance class after school.
Recognize anxiety is completely normal
Anxiety is a normal part of life and can be an important indicator that something needs to be addressed. It’s essential to recognize the importance of seeking out help if you are feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with your thoughts in a healthy manner.
If you find yourself experiencing physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, or trouble sleeping it may be an indication that further help is needed. It’s important to create a safe space for yourself and explore how to manage these feelings in the most supportive way possible. This could include:
- Speaking with a friend, mentor, or professional who can provide assistance with understanding difficult emotions and creating coping strategies.
Don’t hide your own stress
While gaming is often seen as an escape from life’s pressures and anxieties, it can be just as stressful to game. Video games require a lot of concentration, time, and effort to get through levels, achieve ranks or complete quests. This can be very stressful at times especially when gamers are trying to improve their skills or beat a tough challenge.
It’s important to recognize these feelings and take the necessary steps to manage them so that gaming doesn’t become overwhelming or detrimental to mental health.
Managing stress in gaming means:
- Taking breaks when needed.
- Setting realistic goals for yourself.
- Engaging in healthy activities outside of the game such as exercising or talking with friends about how you feel.
- Not comparing yourself and your progress with others; some people naturally pick up skills faster than others so don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t reach your goal the first time around.
- Remembering you’re not alone in feeling stressed about playing video games! Talking about it with friends who play similar titles can really help alleviate some of the pressure and let you have fun while playing again.
Give children time to adjust
When children are transitioning to a new school year, it’s important to provide them with the time and space they need to adjust. For example, the day before school starts, try to give your child some extra time in the morning so that they don’t have to rush and start the day in a panicked state. Also, when you’re setting expectations for them for the school year, be reasonable and reasonable about workloads or tasks you’re assigning. It can be difficult for children (especially young children) to switch from summer mode back into academic mode—so giving them reasonable expectations can help reduce their anxiety.
Additionally, providing some extra rewards or incentives can also motivate your child to get back into school mode. Small rewards for completing tasks or good behavior during class can go a long way in helping your child stay positive about the school year ahead:
- Extra time in the morning before school starts
- Reasonable expectations for workloads and tasks
- Small rewards for completing tasks or good behavior during class
Encourage kids to pace themselves
Encouraging kids to pace themselves is an important back-to-school mental health tip for parents. Setting a realistic timeline for studying, completing schoolwork and engaging in leisure activities can help them manage their workload and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Parents can encourage their children to set aside time each day for rest and relaxation to ensure that they have enough energy to tackle the day’s tasks. This could be something as simple as taking a relaxing walk or playing with a pet. Allowing children to cook meals or snacks throughout the week is another great way to boost feelings of self-reliance, creativity, and accomplishment.
Making time for physical activity is also beneficial, as exercise releases endorphins which have mood-boosting effects.
Address COVID-19 fears honestly
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the world, and healthcare workers were at the forefront of responding to its effects. With the re-opening of schools, it is essential for these frontline workers to be given the tools they need to protect their mental health and resiliency.
One way to ensure this is for healthcare professionals to address their fears about COVID-19 honestly. This can be done by sharing any worries and doubts with colleagues, providing them with a platform for effective communication and problem solving.
Additionally, it can also be helpful for healthcare workers to practice self-care in order to promote resilience in the face of uncertainty. Self-care activities such as:
- Healthier eating habits
- Taking part in physical activity
- Being mindful of sleep hygiene
- Giving yourself time away from work
can help you stay grounded both mentally and physically while you take on the many tasks associated with your job. Providing healthcare workers with these tools can help them remain resilient even during times of crisis like COVID-19.
Self-care is an important part of staying mentally healthy as you head into the school year. This can include engaging in activities that are pleasurable or that help you to relax. Spending time outdoors, taking a break from social media, meeting up with friends, writing in a journal, and listening to music are just some of the ways that you can practice self-care.
It’s also important to find other activities that may help reduce stress and help with problem solving or coping with difficult emotions such as yoga or mindfulness practices. Taking the time to prioritize your mental health can go a long way in helping you establish good habits and remain focused throughout your school year.
FAQs about: mental health tips for back to school
Q: What is the most important tip for maintaining good mental health during back to school?
A: The most important tip for maintaining good mental health during back to school is to prioritize self-care. Make sure to take time for yourself to relax, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Try to incorporate activities like yoga, meditation, or journaling into your daily routine.
Q: How can I manage stress during back to school?
A: One of the best ways to manage stress during back to school is to develop a plan and stick to it. Create a daily schedule that includes time for school work, time for self-care, and time for rest. Additionally, try to practice deep breathing or mindfulness activities to help you relax and stay focused.
Q: What are some tips for getting enough sleep during back to school?
A: Getting enough sleep during back to school is important for maintaining good mental health. To get enough sleep, establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Avoid screens and caffeine before bedtime, and try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.