Teenagers and children spend a considerable amount of time at school. Their educational institutes play a significant role in fostering their overall health. Schools that focus on students’ well-being have healthy and happy students and improve academic performance.
Gone are the days when stress and other mental ailments were solely the domain of adults; today, children are also exposed to stressful situations. Many students go into depression if their scores are concerning. In addition, bullying is also prevalent in academic organizations and impacts students’ emotional well-being. Several students deal with social anxiety and find it challenging to speak in a group. They are also experiencing physical health problems. Modern society is experiencing an alarming rise in students’ health problems and strives to improve their wellbeing.
Schools can promote holistic health and improve students’ academic achievements by applying different techniques.
Here are some ways to promote well-being in schools:
1. Hire a Trauma and Crisis Teacher
Unfortunately, the world isn’t a fair place, and here, even young children experience traumatic events. You never know some students may be carrying heavy emotional baggage and find them unable to cope with school’s stress.
Schools must have a competent teacher who has an in-depth insight into crisis counseling. Traumatic events, such as physical or sexual abuse, murder, rape, cannot be dealt with in simple discussions. Counseling is necessary to help these students get back on their feet. To help students who have experienced traumatic events, schools should hire professionals with degrees like the school counseling master’s degree in crisis and trauma. The curriculum covers courses that address socioeconomic, cultural, and societal factors that affect students’ mental health. It prepares individuals to help students who encounter these difficulties.
2. Model Positive Behaviors
Students may not learn what they are taught, but they learn what they observe. Teachers and other educational staff must model positive behavior to inculcate optimism in students.
Encourage children to speak about their problems. As an educator, you must remind them time and again that you are always there to listen to them. Avoid spreading negativity and talking about sorrowful things. In addition, you should be careful not to be pessimistic in front of them and try to look at the glass half full at all times. Positivity is contagious, and when you demonstrate positive behavior, others also develop it.
3. Cultivate a Welcoming Environment
Establish a warm environment where students feel happy to arrive and do not feel threatened. Educational institutes are like a second home for students, and it is no surprise that their environment shapes pupils’ personalities.
Ensure that students feel heard, seen, and valued. Greet them with a smile and demonstrate respect towards them. Give them a safe environment where they can speak without fear or favor.
4. Promote Healthy Lifestyle
Holistic health is dependent on a healthy lifestyle.
Schools must encourage their students to make healthy choices and break bad habits by allowing cafeterias to serve healthy foods. Another way of boosting a healthy lifestyle at schools is to schedule a slot for workouts and motivate children to indulge in exercise.
Additionally, educational institutes must have “nap-time” where young students can rest for a few minutes. Workshops and seminars on the importance of a healthy lifestyle will encourage pupils to let go of their harmful practices.
5. Plan Mindful Lessons
Dedicate a slot where students can indulge in some mindful exercises. Eight to ten minutes where students meditate, have breathing exercises, or reflect on their day will help them deal with their stress. Besides, it can be great learning that can help them in the future. Mindfulness can positively impact students’ health and improve their well-being.
6. Normalize Discussing Psychological Well-being
Discussing mental health problems should not be taboo at schools. Normalize using words like “psychological,’ “depression,” or “stress.” It will break the stigma around mental health issues, and pupils will feel comfortable discussing their problems.
Instead of making students brush their psychological issues under the carpet, you must lend them a listening ear. Sometimes, students need someone to talk to without fear of being judged. It would be better if a teacher becomes that person and helps children speak what disturbs them.
7. Encourage Participation in Physical Activities
Organize sports competitions in schools and ignite a spark of athleticism in students. Most schools have sports activities in their curriculum; however, they do not give them their due attention.
Ensure that your weekly planner has a slot dedicated to physical games. Similarly, encourage students to play healthy physical games during recess. A vast majority of children are becoming screen addicts and do not want to play sports even in their free time. Schools can encourage students’ participation in sports activities by organizing competitions and awarding winners with certificates and trophies.
8. Teacher Training
Teachers’ role is of utmost importance in students’ life. As a teacher, you must know the signs of mental health problems and learn coping techniques. You should know how to comfort a distressed child and help students relieve stress. Additionally, trained teachers also establish a healthy environment where students believe in “think-win-win” and do not bully each other. Schools should organize workshops, seminars, and other professional development sessions to train teachers to promote well-being at schools.
9. Look after Yourself
Teaching is stressful and can be overwhelming. While you fulfill your responsibilities, you must ensure that you take care of your physical and mental health. Take proper sleep and follow a healthy diet. Incorporate exercise in your routine and learn coping techniques to relieve stress.
In addition, you must dedicate some minutes daily for “me-time” where you do something you enjoy doing. Do not hesitate in seeking assistance as it does not make you any less of a teacher. Remember, you can only play a part in other people’s well-being when you are mentally and physically fit.
Students’ well-being is crucial for their better academic performance. Schools’ environment influences their holistic health and can lead to positive health outcomes. Students spend five days a week in classrooms to interact with their peers and teachers and learn lifelong skills. Culture of wellness at school helps in enhancing their overall well-being and improves their quality of life. Healthy teachers can promote wellbeing at school and take care of students’ wellness.