Wellness Tips

Add wellness tips for your students to help them manage their mental health during the school day. Use any of the following during morning announcements, in your classes, in parent newsletters and more. You can also encourage students to share ways they are using these tips.

A special thanks to our Nationwide Children’s Care Connection School-Based Behavioral Health staff for creating this wonderful resource!

Self-Care

Remember to practice self-care. Self-care is vital to your success in school and life. Practice self-care by eating healthy, getting good sleep, moving a little bit every day and creating healthy relationships with family and friends.

Boundaries

Tip# 1: Realize you don't have to please everyone. There is no way that you can make everyone happy all the time. You are not chocolate! 

Concentrate on making yourself happy first and you can cut out lots of stress and hassle from your life.

Tip #2: Know your limits and boundaries. Accept the things you can control and the things you cannot. This will help you feel more relaxed and happy long term. 

Meditation / Take a Break

Tip #1: Take advantage of meditation or yoga classes on Youtube.com. These skills can help you get a release from stress through a relaxing session of meditation and moving your body. 

Tip #2: Take a break. Sometimes students overwhelm themselves with everything they have going on. If you're feeling like you've got too much on your plate, cut back on the amount of work and extracurricular activities to make your schedule more manageable.

Truth or Myth

Truth or Myth?

Myth: Wellness problems don’t affect me.

Fact: Wellness problems are actually very common. 

  • One in five youth ages 13 to 18 experiences a significant mental illness, and less than half get the treatment they need. 
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the United States. 

These staggering statistics demands a bold response. If you’re struggling or know someone who is, talk to a trusted adult or your school social worker or counselor to get help. 

Truth or Myth?

Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a wellness problem.

Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone by:

  • Being a listening ear and seeing a person for who they are
  • Helping them access wellness services
  • Being compassionate
  • Refusing to define them by their struggles or using inappropriate labels such as "crazy"

Don’t forget that you may one of the many friends or family members that someone needs for help and support. There are also adults available to help at school, home or even in the community, so no one has to deal with wellness alone.

Fitting in Making Friends / Accepting Changes

Tip #1: Understand that it may take time to fit in. Most people don't make best friends on the first day of school. It takes time to build friendships, so don't get discouraged if you don't fit in right away.

Tip #2: Change can be annoying, uncomfortable or simply terrifying. Things will change both at home and in your school life, but can open new and exciting opportunities. Accepting change will help you be flexible and happy over time.

Friendships

Tip #1: Build new friendships, and work on keeping the ones you already have. A big part of school is meeting new people and forming new friendships so get out there and meet new people whenever possible.

Tip #2: Authenticity, honesty and trust are qualities we expect to find in a friend. There's an understanding that the binding together of people in friendship helps each of us define and realize a meaningful life. If these appeal to you, work on demonstrating them to people around you.

Building Confidence Strength in Numbers

Tip #1: Build on your confidence. If you know you're good at certain things build on the confidence you take from these activities rather than concentrating on your faults.

Tip #2: Find strength in numbers. You may have an easier time feeling good and fitting in if you find a group of students who share similar interests and values as you.

Goal Setting

Tip #1: Set realistic goals. Decide what you want to achieve academically, socially or personally, and write down the steps you need to reach your goal. Aim high, but keep it simple so it is achievable for you. Remember to celebrate the small accomplishments along the way to reaching your goal.

Tip #2: Break up your routine and do something fun or different one day. Although our routines are comfortable, a little change of pace can perk up your day. Plan a trip with friends, take a walk in a different park or hang some new pictures in your room.

Rewarding Self & Accomplishments

When you play your favorite video game there’s always a huge fanfare when you make a big accomplishment – music, flashy lights, and a “great job!” message from the computer.

When you sink a three pointer, score a touchdown, or you spike on the other team, there’s the cheer of the crowd roaring behind you.

But when you’ve gotten through the day without having a meltdown, you’ve just fixed a snack for your sibling, or finally finished that math problem that’s been bothering you … none of that happens.

Our brains love to be rewarded. The chemicals associated with his make us feel good – completely naturally. But in some cases, we have to take care of ourselves and not depend on other people.

Take some time today and write down 3 things you accomplished. You can use a piece of paper, a journal, or a phone app. Make a habit of this and you’ll find that your brain loves the reward!

Resources at School

Learn about helpful resources or people that are in your school. Planning for your future career or education is something all grade levels should be thinking about.

Don’t wait too long to start taking needed tests, bringing up grades, and researching careers and colleges. Make sure you are taking appropriate classes to set you up for graduation and after.

School counselors can be an asset for learning school course requirements, changing schedules, and much more. Establishing a relationship early on will ease the growing pains of eventually moving on from school.

Social Supports

Tip #1: Surround yourself with good people. People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or find activities where you can meet new people, such as a school club, team or community support group.

Tip #2: Give your time. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You'll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it's a great way to meet new people.

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness? It is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.

"Bringing one's complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis."

Mindfulness can help you with relaxing, reducing stress, helping your memory and keeping you from being distracted or disengaged. All things that can be helpful in school, personal life, and with relationships.

Cellphone Mindfulness Activity

Use your cellphone or a different object that you can hold in your hand if you do not have a cell phone or don’t have access to your phone to participate in this mindfulness activity.

To begin hold the object in one of your hands, close your eyes, and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. With your eyes still closed trace the object with your finger, notice any bumps or grooves, any buttons or scratches. Keep breathing in through your nose, and out through your mouth. 

What was it like to focus on just your breath and your phone? If it was relaxing you might enjoy practicing mindfulness.

Mindful Eating

Tip #1: Slowing down is one of the best ways we can get our mind and body to communicate what we really need from food. The body actually sends a signal after about 20 minutes of eating to the brain, saying you are full. If we slow down, we can give our bodies a chance to catch up to our brains, and help with not eating more than we need. 

Tip #2:  Practice mindful eating. Use your five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to observe your food before you eat. This can also help you to slow down, and allow your body to better process the food.

Routines & Asking for Help

Tip #1: Create a routine. If you get yourself in the habit of scheduling time for homework and studying, you’ll realize you’ll still have time to hang out with friends, play video games and sleep. By doing this, you will find the balance between schoolwork and doing the things you enjoy.

Tip #2: Ask for help. When you're feeling overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help from teachers, family members and friends. For example, asking a teacher for help may allow you to complete more difficult assignments or projects. Or talking with family or friends to get advice on situations you are dealing with.

Break From Studying / Realistic Goal Setting

Tip #1: Give yourself a break. If you've been studying steadily for hours, give your eyes and mind a chance for a rest by taking a break. You can come back feeling more refreshed and ready to go.

Tip #2: Be realistic. Sometimes there's just no way you can get done everything you'd like to in one day. Be realistic about your goals and set a timeline to accomplish tasks. For example to limit stress, when you have a big project or paper due, break it up into sections so that you can complete it on time or early.

Hobbies / Study Time Management

Tip #1: Relax with hobbies. Whether you like to paint or to destroy aliens with your friends in video games, making time for the things you love is an important part of keeping yourself from getting too stressed out.

Tip #2: Give yourself plenty of time. It's easy to put off starting on a big project or studying for a test until the last minute. You'll be much less stressed out, however, and will likely do better if you give yourself more time to work on it.

Tips to Reduce Stress
  • Make it a point to be active and get your body moving. Setting a tangible goal, like 30 minutes of activity, is a great way to start! You can find activities on your phone by using apps or searching the internet. Just keep moving!
  • Did you know that students need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep to function best, but according to a study only 15 percent do. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood, physical and mental health as well as your academics. Before bed, turn off electronics at least an hour before trying sleep.
  • Be mindful of the impact that substance use has on your wellness. Drug and alcohol use puts you in grave physical, mental and legal danger. If you need help, team up with someone who can hold you accountable that is a professional and a group of family and friends that will support your sobriety.
  • Get educated about alcohol and drugs. You cannot rely on the myths and misconceptions that are out there among your friends and on the internet. Your ability to make the right decisions includes getting educated. Do research, and talk with professionals that study and understand substance abuse. As you learn, share what you are learning with your friends and your family.
Coping Skills

Tip #1: Learn how to deal with stress by practicing good coping skills: Try One-Minute of deep breathing, do Tai Chi, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try writing in a journal as a stress reducer. Also, remember to smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.

Tip #2: Quiet your mind and try mindfulness! Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of other stress reducers like therapy etc.

Belly Breathing

Did you know that as your heart rate approaches 100 beats per minute, your brain starts to go into the “Freeze, Flight, or Fight” mode? This means that unnecessary brain functions – like those that help form words or the ones that help us make informed decisions – all start to go "offline."

Yep, that means that when you’re feeling your heart race before a big test or when you have to give a speech, the ONE THING you need is the ONE THING your brain is going to have trouble giving you. 

Stop. Take a deep breath by pushing your belly out. Hold it for as long as you feel comfortable. Then slowly exhale like you’re blowing out birthday candles. 

This will allow your brain to be able to say, “Thank you.”

Breathing

Tip #1: Practice mindfulness by taking a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Sense the flow of the breath, the rise and fall of your belly. You can focus on your breath like this, any time you may feel overwhelmed.

Tip #2: Another way to reduce stress is to not fill up all your time with “doing.” Take some time to simply be.

When your mind wanders to thinking, gently bring it back to your breath. This way you can give your mind a break and be present in the moment- more free of worries from the past and the future.

Apps for Relaxation

Do you ever get stressed out, sad, angry, or have a hard time focusing? There’s an app for that!

Pacifica is a free apple and android app that allows you to learn to track your mood, relax using mindfulness, practice setting and accomplishing goals, keep track of your self-care, and learn how to overcome negative thoughts.

Gratitude

This week the challenge is to show gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Research shows that by practicing gratitude, your health, relationships, emotions, and school performance can improve. 

Write down something you are grateful for.

Physical Activity and Giving Thanks

Tip #1: Participate in physical activity three times per week by going for a walk, playing a sport or simply stretching. Research shows that physical activity can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost your overall well-being. 

Tip #2: Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include three things you were grateful for and three things you were able to accomplish each day. This will help you see what is going well and keep a positive outlook. 

Test Taking Tips / Sleep / Positive Thoughts

Tip #1: Avoid nerves before a test by making sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. 8-9 hours is suggested for teens to feel their best. 

Tip #2:  Thinking positive thoughts about your ability to succeed on the test can rapidly improve you scores. So set aside the negative thoughts, and change them into positive ones. For example: instead of thinking “I will fail”, change it the thought to, “I will do my best.”

Test Tips / Nutrition / Peppermint Help

Tip# 1: Don't go to the exam with an empty stomach. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often recommended to reduce stress. Avoid stressful foods with high sugar content and processed foods like: pop, potato chips or candy.

Tip #2:  Adding peppermint to your tea or diet can help you feel more awake and aware to do your best on the test. Try a mint while studying and one right before the test to help your brain associate the material you studied to be recalled for the test.

Test Tips / Planning / Avoid Cramming

Tip# 1: Avoid test taking nervousness by planning ahead and being prepared. Ask your teacher for a study guide, study with friends and make sure to review material in a timely manner. 

Tip #2: Avoid cramming right before the test. Break down material into sections or chapters. Try focusing on one section per study session until all needed material is covered. This will prepare you for success without as much stress.

Test Tips / Focus / Relax

Here are tips for success on tests:

Tip #1: Focus on addressing each question individually. As you take the test, if you don't know an answer, don't obsess over it. Instead, answer the best way you can or skip over the question and come back to it after you've answered other questions.

Tip #2: Relax. If you're so nervous that you blank out, you might need a mini-break. Of course you can't get up and move around in the middle of a test, but you can wiggle your fingers and toes, take four or five deep breaths, or picture yourself on in a calm place.

Memory / Sleep

Did you ever watch the movie Inside Out? Remember the part where the different memories are processed while the main character Riley sleeps? Did you know that was based on actual studies of why we sleep? During sleep our brains are really active in processing the memories of the day.

Imagine if you just collected every single piece of paper that came your way and stuffed it in your locker. Eventually you wouldn’t be able to find anything you need! 

Sleep isn’t just about rest. It’s about organizing key memories, writing important information into long-term memory, and dumping all the random stuff you don’t need.

So try to make sleep a priority:

  • Put down the phone and switch to listening to something calming
  • Don’t eat right before bed – or drink caffeine
  • Try to aim for 9! (Yes, 9) hours of sleep. 

Your brain will thank you. 

 
Challenge: Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness are a selfless act performed by kind people to either help or cheer up a random stranger, for no reason other than to make people happier. 

We never know who may be feeling sad, lonely or frustrated. Sometimes just simply doing something small like saying hello, or opening a door can make a big difference for others and their well-being. 

To participate in this challenge please use the forms given from home room teachers or located in the office. Write down a random act of kindness you have done or plan to do in the future.

Healthy Relationships / Abuse

Often we think of abuse as physically attacking someone, but did you know that many behaviors that involve asserting power and control over someone can be abusive? 

Abuse is:

  • Making people afraid
  • Invalidating other’s feelings
  • Forcing people to isolate from their friends and family
  • Frequent blaming and shaming
  • Using kids, pets, or peers as leverage for control
  • Not letting someone take part in decision making
  • Limiting someone else’s access to control their own money or opportunities
  • Threatening someone

These are all behaviors that can be red flags for abuse.

A healthy relationship is based on equality and has trust, support and accountability.