Supporting Students’ Self-Care Virtually

Supporting Students’ Self-Care Virtually

It’s important to practice self-care, but doing so on a regular basis can be challenging at the best of times! One way you can develop your own self-care practices, as well as teach these practices to students, is to embed them into the lessons you are teaching. There are many ways you can help students build self-care routines that will help them do their best learning. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Encourage students to make a plan each day:
    • Who will I connect with today?
    • When will I get into nature today?
    • How will I move my body today?
    • What am I grateful for today?
    • How will I be creative today?
  • Share reflection questions for students to respond to at the end of the day (or the next morning):
    • When was my brain most focused?
    • How did my brain/body indicate it was time to move?
    • Was there a time that I had to persevere? How did I do it?
  • One way you can best support students during these challenging times is to make sure that each student has a trusted adult to whom they can voice questions and feelings. Hosting “office hours” if you are teaching online or placing short phone calls can let students know you are there for them.
  • Use hopeful language when you speak to students. Practice using envisioning language to model for them what their own self-talk should sound like: full of optimism, hope, and positivity.
  • Give students a chance to engage in their own learning. Consider letting them show their learning in different ways, based on what tools they have readily available. Keeping in mind that one goal you have for your students is that they become lifelong learners, think about ways that you can provide opportunities for them to show how they are continuing to learn even when they aren’t at school.
  • Ask students how you can help them. Repeatedly asking this question will help students develop an understanding of what they need and how to ask for it. A powerful self-care practice you can teach your students is how to advocate for themselves and take the risk to ask.

Self-care is always important for managing stress and worry, and it is especially critical during the most challenging times. Finding opportunities to teach students what self-care is and how to practice it regularly will provide many lifelong skills that will positively impact your students.


Written by Sarah Fillion, Director of Consulting & Certification at Center for Responsive Schools
Tags: Reflection, self-care, Virtual Learning

83 Replies to “Supporting Students’ Self-Care Virtually”

  • Excellent article.
    Giving support to students and provide them opportunities to feel powerful and take care of themselves is very important during this critical times.
    Thanks so much!

    • I love this article. It reminds me to stay focused on the students mental well being. It is very important to practice envisioning language . This will help them to remain centered and positive!

  • Hi Sarah,
    I really enjoyed your article; it gave clear examples of questions to ask that were realistic.
    I think reminding students to stay positive and optimistic is huge. So many students are unsure about what is happening and the future of schools. Remembering that our reactions and words really do influence our students, is a great tip.
    At the end of every week, I’ve been sending a survey to my students, asking how they are feeling, what they are looking forward to, and how they can make the next week even better. I think adding some of your questions would help to see how my students are feeling, and help me to see ways I could assist them.
    Thank you!

  • Sarah,

    Thank you for the timely and relevant article. You shared a wide variety of strategies, which I appreciate. My students definitely feel lost without their usual busy schedules, so having them make daily plans and reflect on the plan’s success is a great tip. I also have students share one good thing that happened during the week on our Google Classroom page every Friday. It helps them reflect and encourages them to stay positive. I will be sharing your strategies with colleagues!

  • Hi Sarah,
    I am currently completing graduate coursework focused on studies of climate and culture, and your article gives great ideas for how a teacher can help create a positive community in which all students needs are supported. I think some teachers are not aware of how explicit instruction of self-care practices can be so easily embedded into what is already planned. I really liked your suggestions of using reflective questions and hopeful language, which I intend to implement in my high school classroom immediately!

  • Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for giving some ideas for making sure that our students are taking care of themselves. I teach a life skills program for young adults with significant disabilities, and we have incorporated leisure activities for our students to choose from in order to ensure that they are practicing self-care on a daily basis. I would like to incorporate more opportunities for my student to reflect on their work week. I’m going to have to think of some ways that I can adapt your questions to meet the needs of my students.

  • This is a great article especially during these times, thank you! There are some great strategies to use if the students are participating in the Remote learning. Those that are have responded with positive changes in their own routines in completing work and adjusting to the quarantine. How would you reach out to those who are not fully participating in the remote learning and what your advice for teachers reaching out to them without making it seem like they are pestering that student?

  • Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for concrete suggestions for connecting with our students and encouraging their self care! At first these appeared better suited in self-contained classes or homeroom groups, but after I thought about it they really can be adapted to any content area. Some students may even appreciate being asked straight up how they are feeling after doing their math or science work. I look forward to incorporating some of these suggestions into my remote learning lessons.

  • Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing some great self-care tips to use with students during this time. I think it is important for students to have a voice and feel like they are able to express themselves. I have started office hours for my students where they can come and talk about assignments or just spend time together. Your tip on using hopeful language really stood out to me. I am going to share this strategy with my team!

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