10 SEL activities to help students with stress management

As an educator, you are in a unique position to provide stability and care to your students and their families. One of the best ways you can support students during these uncertain times is by teaching them effective stress management strategies.

Just like adults, unmanaged stress in students can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, poor concentration, aggression, physical illness, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. It can also increase tobacco, drug, and/or alcohol use.

Here are 10 activities to help your students learn effective stress management.

1. Be a listening ear.

Encourage students to talk to you about their feelings and problems so you can work through any concerns they may have. Keep in mind that some students don’t have an adult at home whom they feel comfortable turning to in times of need. Also, many students were isolated from their normal environments, peer groups, relatives, etc., last year. It is going to take some time for them to adjust to our “new normal.”

Why it works: We’ve all been through a lot during the pandemic, and an important way to help students process and work through their emotions, experiences, and problems is by listening. This is an important first step in helping students work through and manage stress.

2. Host morning meetings.

Start the school day with a morning meeting to check in with students. This can be a time to address any issues they may be facing, talk through their feelings and emotions, and practice social and emotional skills.

Why it works: Morning meetings are an important way to stay connected with your students and address any issues they may be having. They also can strengthen student-teacher relationships, increase social awareness and self-efficacy, and reduce stress.

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