Five Top Tips for Mental Health this Summer
The summer break was welcomed with open arms by teachers, students and parents alike after several months of eLearning, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Although the majority of students may be experiencing feelings of euphoria during this time, others may be facing mental health challenges. Rachel George, Head of Student Support at YCIS Beijing shares with us factors that can cause stress and ways they can be curbed.
Due to the nature of the recently ended academic year, Ms George acknowledges that “This summer break is more unusual than times past.”. This can be attributed she believes to the little or no closure students had. “Friends and teachers left without the traditional good-byes, and the highly anticipated last day of school was replaced with virtual meetings” she said.
“This coupled with the uncertainty of the new school year can all lead to stressful emotions and subsequent reactions by students.”. Despite these circumstances, healthy mental wellbeing must be maintained for the overall functioning of students. Which is why Ms George shares the five ways students can boost their mental health:
- Students can complete a Circle of Control activity. Knowing what things or circumstances are within your control, and have the ability to change, versus what things are outside of your control, not only helps with impulse control but also things like emotion regulation and anxiety.
- Students can identify circumstances they cannot control, such as our inability to travel over the summer, and problem solves ways to cope.
- Students can identify and name their emotions. When we know how we are feeling and why we are feeling that way, we not only have greater insight into our personalities but how our emotions affect our interactions with others.
- Students can create a coping toolbox where they identify items/activities they can do that help to alleviate stress. Their toolbox may include a colouring book and crayons, favourite musical playlist, a stress ball- something they can turn to when they are feeling stressed.
- Students can hone in on their sense of resiliency, problem-solving, and emotional regulation. Take time this summer to build these emotional muscles. Have a “heart smart” day where you take time to focus on emotional intelligence. Centervention has free Social-Emotional learning activities your student can do at home.
Whilst students have resources to improve their emotional intelligence independently, parents should continue to provide support when the need arises. The new academic year is slowly approaching and will become with much uncertainty, but until then “Continue to model calmness and good practices to help your family feel safe. It may be helpful to have periodic “check-ins” with your children as they may not always know how to come to you to discuss concerns or fears.” she said.
Until then, use this time to bond with your child(ren) through fun activities for the family like Respectful Ways which includes short activities you can do with your children at home. If you are a musical family, this resource from Amani Project incorporates social-emotional learning with musical activities for the family to do together!