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As instructors, we must put our high school students’ mental and physical well-being first. Recent data emphasizes urgency: during the COVID-19 pandemic, 37% of high school students reported poor mental health, and 44% had persistent emotions of melancholy or hopelessness. School connectedness is one proven method for combating these issues—when children feel connected to their school community, they are less likely to experience anxiety and sadness.  

In this article, we’ll look at eight practical wellness activities for students that can help them improve their health and well-being at school. 

1. Talk about Wellness & Wellbeing. 

One of the most powerful activities you can do is start conversations about mental health. Discussing wellness publicly helps mainstream the problem, making it easier for students to disclose their struggles. 

How to Start a Conversation 

  • Share personal experiences: Discuss your own mental health journey. This vulnerability can encourage students to talk about their personal experiences. 
  • Use relevant articles: Bring in articles or news stories regarding mental health to start a debate. 
  • Create a safe space: Create a teaching environment where students feel comfortable expressing their emotions without being judged. 

Benefits 

  • Creates a supportive classroom environment. Students who understand that their instructor cares about mental health are more likely to feel at ease and supported. 
  • Teachers and students can benefit from having open dialogue when identifying the early warning signs of mental health issues. 
  • Creates a community of empathy and understanding. This activity promotes a sense of community among students and encourages them to help one another.  

2. Check-Ins with Emojis 

Teenagers frequently find it difficult to express their emotions. Emoji check-ins provide pupils with an easy-to-use, nonverbal means of expressing their feelings. You don’t have to strain when making emoji badges; instead, a student feedback app will allow students to provide rapid reviews about their day and other classroom activities. 

Putting Emoji Check-Ins in Place 

  • Everyday Check-Ins: At the start of class, ask students to choose an emoji that best captures how they are feeling. You can use a digital platform or a board for this. 
  • Subsequent Conversations: If you need to initiate a deeper conversation, start with the emoji check-in. For instance, find out why a student selected a specific emoji. 

Benefits 

  • Lessens the shame associated with emotional expression—normalizes discussing emotions in a friendly and approachable manner.  
  • It helps you quickly assess the general classroom mood. It gives you an instant impression of how the pupils are feeling so you can deal with any problems as soon as they arise. 
  • It promotes emotional awareness. It assists pupils in becoming more conscious of their own feelings and those of their friends.  

Journaling 

Writing in a journal is an effective way to express your emotions and reflect on yourself. It facilitates pupils’ mental and emotional processing. 

Activities and Prompts for Journaling 

  • We have prompts for emotional processing. Give students questions that compel them to consider their emotions (e.g., “Write about a time you felt proud of yourself”). 
  • Introduce bullet journaling by using habit and mood trackers. Students can monitor their everyday actions, habits, and emotions. 
  • Encourage your learners to keep a gratitude journal by having them list their blessings daily.  

Benefits 

  • Improves Emotional Intelligence: Assists learners in comprehending and expressing their emotions. 
  • Gives Stress and Anxiety a Healthy Outlet: Keeping a journal can be a helpful coping mechanism for stress. 
  • Promotes Creativity and Self-Expression: Provides kids with a means of self-expression through the arts.  

3. Yoga: For Classroom Use 

Students can benefit greatly from yoga’s physical and mental health benefits. It eases tension, improves concentration, and encourages relaxation. 

Easy Yoga Pose Ideas for High Schoolers 

  • Tadasana, or mountain posture, is a balancing pose that aids in self-centering for students. 
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana, or downward dog, opens up the entire body and encourages blood flow. 
  • Balasana, also known as the Child’s Pose, is a relaxing pose that lowers tension and anxiety. 
  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana) enhances concentration and equilibrium.  

Benefits 

  • Lessens Anxiety and Stress: Doing yoga on a regular basis can greatly reduce stress. 
  • Enhances Flexibility and Physical Health: Promotes exercise and raises general fitness levels. 
  • Educates Self-Awareness and Mindfulness: Assists pupils in developing a greater awareness of their body and mind.  

4. Moments of Mindfulness 

Mindfulness can significantly impact students’ capacity for concentration and stress management. Easy procedures can be incorporated into the educational day. 

Activities for Mindfulness 

  • Deep Breathing Exercises: To help students relax and concentrate, teach them basic breathing techniques. 
  • Guided Visualizations: Use guided imagery to help pupils unwind and envision pleasant situations. 
  • Short Meditation Sessions: Include quick meditation periods in your everyday schedule. 

Benefits 

  • Mindfulness techniques can assist pupils in maintaining attention and improving their academic performance. 
  • Consistent mindfulness training can help people feel less stressed. 
  • Assists pupils in better emotional regulation. 

5. Visual Remedial 

Through art therapy, students can process difficult emotions and find creative ways to express themselves. It’s a calming and restorative pastime. 

Activities for Art Therapy 

  • Adult coloring books or coloring sheets might be given to pupils as a relaxing hobby. 
  • Let students use freeform art as a means of expressing their feelings during free drawing or painting sessions. 
  • Introduce themed art projects that are centered around particular feelings or subjects. 

Benefits 

  • Encourages children to develop their imagination, which enhances their creative expression. 
  • Art therapy can be a relaxing pastime that helps to relieve tension and anxiety. 
  • Provides children with a nonverbal channel for feelings.  

6. Scavenger Hunts 

It has been demonstrated that time spent outside lowers stress and enhances general wellbeing. Nature scavenger hunts mix the health advantages of the natural world with physical activity. 

Setting Up a Treasure Hunt 

  • Make a catalog of natural objects that the children need to locate, such as leaves, flowers, or pebbles. 
  • Organize the treasure search either on school property or at a neighboring park. 
  • Consider holding a photo scavenger hunt for your older pupils, in which they snap images of the objects they discover. 

Benefits 

  • Encourages students to move around and supports their overall health. 
  • Assists pupils in making a connection with the natural world. 
  • Encourages collaboration and teamwork amongst students. 

7. Remarks of Validation 

Positive affirmations can raise students’ self-esteem and foster a supportive school environment. Even small words of support can make a big difference. 

Using Positive Words of Support 

  • Tell pupils how much you appreciate their hard work and accomplishments. 
  • Make a “Wall of Positivity” where kids can write encouraging words for one another. 
  • Make positive affirmations a part of your everyday regimen. 

Benefits 

  • Enhances Mood and Confidence: Students’ self-esteem can be raised by using positive affirmations. 
  • Promotes a Happy and Helpful Classroom Environment: encourages a feeling of support and camaraderie. 
  • Promotes Academic Success and Positive Behavior: Motivates students to put in their best effort.  

8. The Ability to Just Be There 

Being there for students is one of the most effective ways to help their mental health. Making an effort to care honestly and actively listen can profoundly impact. 

How to Offer Assistance 

  • Be Accessible: Allow kids who require extra time to speak. 
  • Demonstrate Understanding and Empathy: Listen without passing judgment and convey your concerns. 
  • Show Students That You Are Interested: Remind kids regularly how important their well-being is to them. 

Benefits 

  • Enhances the relationship and trust between teachers and students. 
  • Assists pupils in feeling appreciated and comprehended. 
  • Knowing that someone is concerned about them can sweeten a student’s life.  

Wrapping Up 

Encouraging high school kids’ mental health is essential to their overall growth and academic achievement. By incorporating these wellness activities for students, you may establish a nurturing environment in your classroom that supports cognitive and physical health. Recall that the secret is to help kids feel connected to others while giving them the resources they require to deal with their feelings and difficulties. 

By practicing these exercises, teachers can improve health and wellness of students and are better equipped to manage stress and anxiety. Begin modestly, maintain consistency, and observe the beneficial effects on your students’ general well-being and mental health. 

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