10 SEL Activities to Help Students Manage Stress

As an educator, you are in a unique position to provide stability and care for your students and their families. One of the best ways you can support students during these turbulent 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 disturbed sleep. It can also increase the use of tobacco, drugs, and/or alcohol.

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

1. Be a listening ear.

Encourage the students to talk to you about their feelings and problems so that you can address any concerns they may have. Keep in mind that some students do not have an adult at home that they feel comfortable turning to in times of need. Also, many students have been isolated from their natural environments, peer groups, relatives, etc., in the past year. It will take some time for them to adjust to our ‘new normal’.

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

2. Host morning sessions.

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

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

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