Awareness of the importance of self care is on the rise. Nationally in the US, we are seeing alarming increases in student mental health issues. The effect of the coronavirus has exacerbated teen issues and students are calling out for more supports.
As teachers invest in their own self care so that they can be more present for their students, they realize it helps everyone if they can share these mindful awareness and positive mental health habits with their students. Happier teachers and students make for happier classrooms.
Teaching self care to students requires a strategic approach. By understanding the impact of trauma, learning stress reduction techniques, and knowing how to handle objections, teachers can prepare themselves to effectively teach students self care.
To teach students self care, start by studying trauma and the brain
Students that have experienced trauma can benefit from self care principles. As a teacher, to prepare yourself to teach your students self care, you can start by understanding the impact of trauma on the brain. Some students may have experienced specific traumatic events. Others may deal with stress daily as a result of living with poverty, safety concerns, food insecurity, and more. Both kinds of stress, when experienced in youth, can impact the brain. This can manifest in a number of ways, including reactivity. By understanding the impact, you can select the most effective strategies to help students manage stress.
When teaching self care to students, practice makes perfect
There are several different mindfulness techniques and exercises that you can teach students in order to help them practice self care. These techniques are designed to help balance the brain and reduce stress. However, simply knowing the techniques is not enough. As you are learning about teaching self care to students, try to enhance your own practice as well. Explore how you will introduce techniques to students and how you will handle challenges. By practicing these scenarios, you will build confidence, so that you can effectively present the concepts to students and overcome skepticism. In our workshops, Inner Strength Foundation facilitates practice teaching self care to students using tools such as scripts and audio recordings.
Specific challenges when teaching self care to students
Teaching self care to students poses several specific challenges. Since adolescent brains are not fully developed, students may have trouble managing risk, emotions, and peer pressure. Moreover, students today grow up surrounded by digital technology. Studies have shown that overuse of digital technology can have negative impacts on brain development. Educators must be aware of these factors when proposing effective self care strategies and mindfulness techniques. It can be helpful to emphasize the importance, presence, and usefulness of mindfulness in daily life and in stressful situations. By helping students form healthy habits, we can empower them to cope with stress and trauma.
Ready to learn more?
Download these self care activity sheets for Students.
Want to train to bring mindfulness into your classroom? The Foundations of Mindfulness for the Classroom will give you the tools you need and the confidence to integrate essential mindfulness exercises and perspectives into the classroom.