Counselors and Administrators Receive 504 Training by Lozano Smith
SEL Activities to Help Students Manage Anxiety and De-Stress
As an educator, you are in a unique position to provide stability and care to your students and their families. One of the best ways you can support students during these uncertain times is by teaching them ways to effectively manage and reduce stress. Just like adults, unmanaged stress in students can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, poor concentration, aggression, physical illness, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. It can also increase tobacco, drug, and/or alcohol use.
Be a listening ear.
Encourage students to talk to you about their feelings and problems so you can work through any concerns they may have. Keep in mind that some students don’t have an adult at home whom they feel comfortable turning to in times of need. Also, many students were isolated from their normal environments, peer groups, relatives, etc., last year. It is going to take some time
for them to adjust to our “new normal.”
Why it works: We’ve all been through a lot during the pandemic, and an important way to help students process and work through their emotions, experiences, and problems is by listening. This is an important first step in helping students work through and manage stress.
Host morning meetings.
Start the school day with a morning meeting to check
in with students. This can be a time to address any issues they may be facing, talk through their feelings and emotions, and practice social and emotional skills.
Why it works: Morning meetings are an important way to stay connected with your students and address any issues they may be having. They also can strengthen student-teacher relationships, increase social awareness and self-efficacy, and reduce stress.
Promote a growth mindset.
Help students develop a growth mindset by teaching them to focus on the positive and view challenges as opportunities for growth, rather than threats.
Why it works: Research shows that a growth mindset can help students maintain a sense of control over their lives, and it addresses the cognitive causes of stress within the brain. Growth mindsets allow us to see the world through a lens of growth, which means we have the power to turn our thoughts from a negative focus induced by stress to a positive focus striving toward improvement.
Help students practice deep breathing.
Teach students deep breathing techniques to calm down and reduce stress.
Why it works: Deep breathing works just as well for students as it does for adults. It can
have a powerful and immediate physical effect in reducing tension, relaxing the body, and limiting the production of harmful stress hormones. Clinical research also shows that regular deep breathing exercises benefit the heart, brain, digestion, and immune system.