Mental health is an important factor of everyday life. Yet, in the midst of teachers and students trying to find a new normal with COVID-19 and school closures, it is more crucial than ever to find ways to maintain a healthy mindset. With daily routines being interrupted, we have compiled a list of tips and tools to help ease the transition and ensure everyone’s well-being is prioritized.
1. Stay Connected
It is easy to feel isolated and disconnected now that teachers and students cannot interact in person. Personal connection is even more important in times of remote learning when it is not naturally available in the day to day. Teachers should be proactive in creating digital spaces to talk to each other and their students. Additionally, students should feel equipped and empowered to talk to someone when they need support. Allow time for people to be vulnerable and express feelings of concern, but make sure to end all conversations with positivity and encouragement!
Luckily, there are numerous tools that ensure everyone can stay connected. Tools like ClassDojo and Zoom can help establish consistent conversations between teachers and students. Check out our Companies Offering Free Subscriptions and Content for Teachers & Parents Impacted by COVID-19 blog post for more free online communication platforms.
2. Stay Calm
The first reaction to sudden change is often panic and fear, but it is important to stay calm for yourself and those around you. Stress is the number one cause of sickness, so take a breath! Remaining calm not only preserves physical health, it helps keep teachers and students productive and focused. Part of being calm is also having grace for yourself and others. These school closures are a new circumstance for everyone, so it is okay if everything is not running perfectly, and you don’t have everything figured out.
There are many mobile apps that provide free meditation sessions like Calm and Headspace. If you are not into meditation, try writing down what you are grateful for every morning before you pick up your phone, or print out a free design to color.
3. Continue with Routine (as much as possible)
Though daily routine is being interrupted with school closures, it is important for mental health to maintain as much of your normal schedule as possible. This could mean waking up at the same time you would for a normal school day, eating meals at the right times, and keeping up with work and assignments. Write down what your schedule is in a normal school week, make modifications where necessary with being remote, and do your best to stick with it.
The best tools to do this are a simple calendar or weekly planner. However, if you need some additional motivation and reminders, there are great apps like Todoist.
4. Uphold Physical Health
Often when focusing on mental health, we forget that physical and mental health are complementary. To stay healthy overall, make sure to be active and eat well. Schedule an at-home recess and lunch break, just as you would have at school, and be creative with your own P.E. class. Lastly, take advantage of time at home to cook yourself a good meal. For those with kids at home, make meal time interactive and let kids play a part in making their own meals!
One of the easiest ways to promote mental health is taking a walk outside to clear your head and get fresh air. If you need more motivation and want something a bit more intense and try working out with Nike Training Club or the 7 Minute Workout app. To help you with some mealtime inspiration, the Tasty and Yummly apps provide step-by-step recipes.
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For kids at home because of school closures, check out our guide to 20 Online Learning Resources to help their learning continue during the coronavirus epidemic.
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