22 de activitati care stimuleaza sanatatea mintala a tinerilor

Any middle school or high school teacher you talk to during this period will tell you that the students are going through a difficult period and are making efforts to stay connected and focused. After a period shortened by the pandemic, in which children broke away from school in physical form, learning from home, in front of the computer, after a school year divided into modules that did not encourage continuity and coherence at all, but created large breaks in the learning process, after a teacher's strike that was too long that put them on a forced vacation but also in a state of uncertainty about how they will finish school and how the important exams for their future will take place, we want focused and connected children...

And not only the children in education in Romania face problems. Schools in the US, for example, are sounding the alarm about a mental health crisis among America's children, and according to a national survey conducted by Effective School Solutions, the country's school principals, parents and students continue to face with a significant mental health crisis among young people. The results of the survey show that "almost 90% of the principals and almost 60% of the parents said that this crisis is growing. Approximately 60% of the directors say that the mental health of young people has remained the same or has worsened compared to a year ago".

It is obvious, therefore, that it has never been more important than now to focus on supporting the mental health of students. Therefore, below are 22 ideas of activities for the mental health of adolescents, which teachers can use to support the well-being of children in the classroom.

1. Create a positive vibe

Prepares the classroom for student success by creating a safe and supportive environment. He places great value on relationships. It offers options. Admit mistakes and capitalize on them. Model compassion. Tell students and show them that their mental health is at the top of your priority list and include mental health activities in the curriculum.

2. Give students time to discuss

From helping students process what they are learning to encouraging them to work successfully together to build connections, it is essential to allocate space for discussion in the classroom.

3. Create moments of silence

A large part of a typical school day involves crowded and noisy interactions. Keep time in the program for moments of peace and quiet, to give students time to calm down and concentrate. Play relaxing videos in the background or play soft and soothing music during working hours. Or dim the lights and light a few candles (with batteries) to create a few minutes of silence.

4. Go outside

The benefits (for both physical and mental health) of spending time outdoors are well documented. Allowing students to go outside for just a few minutes will help them counteract the overstimulation in the classroom. A breath of fresh air and a moment to look at the sky or the trees works wonders and helps them recharge their batteries. If you don't have direct access to the outside, even five minutes in front of an open window can be beneficial. Keep classes outside as often as you can.

5. Includes mind-body calming exercises

The benefits of mind-body exercises for students include increased self-control, anxiety management, concentration and mental focus. Learn concentrated breathing techniques. Experiment with relaxation exercises and guided visualizations.

6. Get moving

Exercise breaks are excellent activities for the mental health of teenagers, because they help them to revive and refresh themselves. It includes short periods of exercises in the agenda. Do some simple yoga poses or shake off the repressed energy. You can also try to play some songs and organize a five-minute "party" with dancing.

7. Introduce specific, beneficial tools for mental health

You have many resources at your fingertips that will help students maintain their mental health. Tools such as worksheets for expressing thoughts, the wheel of feelings, daily mood monitoring tools and self-care assessment tools require very little time, but can have a big impact.

8. Allows the use of fidgets

Fidget or anti-stress toys are an excellent tool for students24 that help them calm their nerves, relieve stress and serve as a distraction in a hyperexciting environment.

9. Do art therapy exercises

The healing power of art is especially beneficial for the mental health of adolescents. After all, art serves as a safe and effective way of expressing thoughts and feelings. It includes short art sessions in a regular school week, through various spontaneous artistic activities.

10. Create a quiet space

A calming corner, also known as a "peace corner", offers students a place to breathe and re-center, so that they can return to learning. Fill this space with various mental health activities for teenagers, such as anti-stress toys and poetry books.

11. Facilitates the spirit of community through team-building activities

All work without any play does not work for anyone's mental health, regardless of age. The program includes teambuilding activities throughout the year, to encourage the formation of the community and to contribute to the strengthening of relationships between students.

12. Grow a classroom garden

Nothing provides a more important foundation for students than to dig in the ground, plant and then see how something grows. And although tending a garden - from seed to harvest - is a slow process, the rewards will be immense.

13. Create a tea serving point

Another very good way to calm your nerves from time to time is a good cup of tea. Install a tea station in the classroom, equipped with an electric kettle and cups. Each family can send boxes of tea, sugar packets, honey, etc., and the students can benefit from this magic point whenever they feel they need to take a break.

14. Adopt a class animal

Studies show that interacting with animals can help reduce stress, improve physical and mental health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills. Consider adopting a class pet, and if the school doesn't allow animals in the classroom, look for volunteers from various abandoned animal centers who can bring an animal into the classroom for therapy.

15. Equip the class with coloring books for adults

From reducing stress to triggering creativity and even using the brain, a few minutes of disconnection and coloring simply helps students hit the reset button and then get back to learning.

16. Let the music envelop you

Music plays a very important role in the mental health and well-being of many of us, starting from alleviating stress and self-soothing to regulating emotions and providing physiological benefits. For teenagers, music often has an even greater meaning – it can contribute to the process of identity formation. Whenever possible, allow your students to connect to the benefits of music.

17. Practice awareness

It is difficult for students to concentrate when faced with stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is an excellent tool that will help you reduce tension and give students the chance to recharge their attention tank.

18. Propose writing activities

Writing activities are a very important and powerful tool that will help teenagers express their feelings. Writing allows the expression of sensitive emotions that might be difficult to express verbally. These mental health activities can help teenagers gain a better perspective on their emotions, building their confidence and self-esteem.

19. Emphasizes the importance of diet and sleep at home

In general, teachers don't have much control over what students eat and how much they sleep, but these things are extremely important when it comes to managing anxiety. It's no wonder that a healthy diet and plenty of sleep are essential for how well a student is able to cope with situations that could be overwhelming.

20. Allow snacks in the classroom

You trust the students because they know when they need to feed their bodies. Yes, snacks can create a mess in the classroom, but the benefits of preventing low blood sugar and hunger headaches are worth a little mess. All you have to do is talk to your students and express your expectations regarding the responsible way in which they can have snacks in the classroom.

21. Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is believed to help activate certain receptors in the brain, even having the potential to relieve anxiety. Whether in the form of essential oils, sticks or candles, natural scents such as lavender, chamomile and sandalwood can be very soothing. Check if your students have any sensitivities, before exposing the whole class to a particular perfume. An alternative could be an unlit candle, dried herbs or an envelope treated with essential oil kept in the safe space of the classroom, from where students can use them individually.

22. Brain breaks are also for older children

It sometimes happens that we forget that even our apparently grown children like to have a little fun in class. Brain activity breaks are a great way to take five minutes off, exercise and even laugh a little. You can adapt these ideas to suit your school team.

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