In How to Help Students Deal with Holiday Stress, published in TeachHub, we are reminded that for some students, holiday breaks from school may, unfortunately, mean greater exposure to family members whose behavior is violent, or who may be sad or struggling with substance abuse. What can teachers and others who interact with students at school do to help?
As always, recognizing that students may be distressed by circumstances we know nothing about, and being available to listen if a student needs to talk, are important as we approach the holiday season. Teaching multiple means of reducing stress, such as relaxation methods, breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, guided imagery and journaling, can help students discover what is effective for them that they can use anywhere.
Although holiday-related activities may alter usual school day schedules, keeping as much routine as possible, and talking with students about any departures from the usual agenda, will help to calm students. “Brain breaks” are short withdrawals from concentration, and when paired with movement, will increase creativity and productivity, while reducing the effects of stress.