Mental Wellness Matters: 5 Tips to Help Students Thrive
The end of the school year is quickly approaching. While this can be a fun and exciting time, it can also bring stress and worry, as students work to finish projects and prepare for end-of-course exams. With this in mind, and in support of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve put together a few easy steps to help our Florida Virtual School (FLVS) students increase their mental wellness.
1. Practice self-care:
Self-care is an essential part of maintaining good mental health. It is the practice of intentionally taking care of oneself, both physically and mentally, to improve overall well-being. It involves taking time to engage in activities that promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mood. It can help cope with stress, prevent burnout, and increase overall happiness. A few quick tips for self-care include:
- Prioritize sleep: getting enough sleep is crucial for good mental health. Students should aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and create a regular sleep routine.
- Practice good nutrition: eating a balanced and healthy diet can help you feel better both mentally and physically. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, sugar, and junk food.
- Engage in regular exercise: regular exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress levels. Joining a sports team or fitness class can also help with social connections. Plan ahead to join one of the more “sporty” online clubs that FLVS offers. Elementary students can check out the cheerleading club, dance club, mindfulness and yoga club, and running club.
2. Connect with others:
Connecting with friends, family, and peers builds social connections which are a huge aspect of our lives. Here are some tips for how students can connect with others in a virtual world:
- Attend virtual events: more events are now being held virtually, such as online concerts, webinars, and workshops. Attending these events can provide opportunities to connect with others and learn new skills. Consider attending one of the local “meet-ups” sponsored by FLVS in your community.
- Use video conferencing tools: video conferencing applications allow for face-to-face interactions with others. Students can organize video chats with friends or participate in online study groups to connect and collaborate with peers.
- Connect with peers in class: even though students are attending class virtually, it’s still possible to connect with peers. Participating in class discussions, group projects, and online study groups provides opportunities to interact with classmates.
3. Stay active:
There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the positive effects of exercise on mental wellness. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem, improve cognitive function, and enhance overall well-being. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that reduce stress and improve mood. Exercise also promotes social interaction and can help to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Staying physically active is an essential component of good mental health. Here are some ways to stay active:
- Join a fitness group: participate in a fitness group or sports team to stay physically active and meet new people.
- Take a walk outside: walking outside is a great way to get some fresh air and reduce stress levels.
- Participate in a yoga class: offered virtually by our FLVS Student Services team.
4. Try mindfulness:
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully engaged in the present moment, without judgment. It involves paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, without reacting to them. By developing mindfulness skills, individuals can learn to recognize and manage negative thoughts and emotions, which can lead to improved mental health. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness:
- Meditation: set aside time each day to meditate and focus on your breath. Apps such as Headspace or Calm are helpful for beginners.
- Deep breathing: helps you relax and become more present in the moment.
- Gratitude practice: helps shift your focus to the positive aspects of life. Take some time each day to write down a few things you’re grateful for.
5. Seek help when needed:
If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek help. There are a variety of different resources that are available in the community and at FLVS. Here are resources to consider:
- Talk with your family or a trusted adult. You don’t have to do this alone. There are people who will link you to the right resources and assistance.
- The Student Services Department at FLVS. Did you know that FLVS offers a whole host of groups, information sessions, and even one-on-one counseling? For more information contact email@example.com
- Mental health hotlines. If you are in crisis, you can call 988, which is an anonymous hotline that provides support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Life can be challenging and in order to navigate its curveballs, it is essential to prioritize your mental wellness to cope with everyday stressors. By practicing self-care, connecting with others, staying active, practicing mindfulness, and seeking help when needed, students can improve their mental health and lead a happier and healthier life.
Check out the FLVS Student Services page for more information including an upcoming student life skills coping with stress live lesson.