Self-Care for Students During COVID-19
If you’re engaging students through Meaningful Student Involvement during the pandemic, they might be affected by differently than other people in your school, including other students and teachers, too!
Students need to take care of their mental health, social health, emotional health and physical health. Since students engaged in Meaningful Student Involvement can have more responsibility than many other students, they need to be intentional about taking care of themselves.
Here are some points you can teach students to help their self-care.
Point 1: Watch Your Thinking
Distance learning can be isolating for everyone, and being apart from teachers and fellow students can be hard. Teachers should reinforce to students that they need to maintain their friendships and other relationships. It is actually an important way to develop lifelong communication skills, and can also make stressful situations a little more bearable.
Students should learn to…
- Listen to their self-talk. They should give themselves credit for being engaged through Meaningful Student Involvement and not be too self-critical
- Keep things in perspective, try not to gossip, get the facts, and assume the best intent when possible
- Acknowledge to themselves and others when things are weird, whether during the pandemic or otherwise
- Remember changing to online learning can be hard work for themselves, and they’re not expected to get everything right
- Its essential to take breaks from being an engaged student when needed
Point 2: Keep In Touch
Distance learning can be hard on students’ emotional and mental health. It is common for students to feel more depressed or anxious during distance learning, especially during the pandemic. Many students are still figuring out how to adjust to a system that requires so much self-motivation. This can make students feel guilty or stressed.
Students should learn…
- Communication and collaboration makes the distance feel less distant between engaged students, other students and friends
- It’s important for engaged students to take time to do things with people other than class work. They should know that bringing the “school experience” home can make it hard to separate from non-school life from school life
- Many of their peers are dealing with the same hard things in distance learning, and they aren’t alone
Point 3: You’re Not Alone
It can be boring and feel repetitive to be on the computer for every class, all day long. Learning we’re not alone, even if we’re one our own at home during the day, is important for Distance Learning.
engaged students should learn to…
- Talk to other people – including other students and adults – about what they’re struggling with is an important lesson for engaged students
- Find hobbies, ways to relax, and healthy places to process difficult feelings brought on by full-time distance learning
- Be encouraged to focus on the positives as much as possible
Point 4: Move Your Body
Sitting in front of a screen all day is hard on your eyes and your whole body. Being responsible for other students’ tech use and for helping teachers can add to those difficulties. Remember that, even though engaged students are exercising their minds throughout the day, their bodies needs care too. In addition to helping with learning, moving can help with mental and emotional challenges too. Things like stress and depression can affect the body in physical ways too.
Engaged students should learn to…
- Stretch, take walks and breaks, and get outside if they can
- Pay attention to posture and go easy on their backs
- Keep a routine with things like food, sleep, etc.
- Exercise to release toxic thoughts and stress, whether its simple or complicated activity
These are just a few thoughts about what engaged students should learn about self-care. What would YOU add?
You Might Like…
- Surviving Youth: Take Care of Your Heart
- Supporting Adult Allies of Youth
- Making Decisions from Heartspace
Adam F.C. Fletcher is available to consult, speak, and write.