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”

  • Hi Sarah,

    I really enjoyed reading your article! I think that it is very important for our students to learn how to practice self-care. Your article gave a lot of great strategies and reminders. I also loved that these strategies were relevant for any grade level to use. I especially liked the idea of having students create a plan for each day and reflect upon when they are the most focused. These are strategies that I will definitely be taking back to my class as we finish the year with virtual learning! Thank you!

  • Hey Sarah, Thanks for the reminder about the importance of self-care. I sometimes forget during my math ZOOOM calls that some of my students are worrying and stressing about something other than math. In addition to hosting office hours, student might also benefit from having time at the end of a lesson to just talk. Ending a lesson 5 minutes early may give students an opportunity to connect with an adult. I plan to share your reflection questions during my virtual team meeting tomorrow.

  • Sarah,
    This article was so helpful, especially in these challenging times! I often think that as adults we assume that kids are flexible and okay with these changes, but we often forget that self-care is essential to their well-being. I really enjoyed your suggestion about providing students self-care questions to reflect on at the end of the day – I think this is a good idea for teachers as well! These questions allow them to think about their day, reflect on what went well, and check-in with their mental health and well-being. Thank you for these helpful suggestions!

  • Hi Sarah,

    I greatly appreciate these ideas in response to supporting students in a virtual setting. Thank you so much for all your help. :)

  • Great article! This gives me an idea of giving a random question at the beginning of class to assist each student know/discover more about selves and me to know more about them. Answers to the random question may be shared and discussed in class or as exit tickets. This needs advance and careful planning to be purposeful.

  • Incorporating kindness and thankfulness into morning meetings on a regular basis will help students emotionally and mentally.

    • When you say “feel well taken care of,” do you mean in perception only? Can you expound upon that to add clarification?

  • I feel a positive attitude is first and foremost. With an optimistic approach to learning, the students will not feel over whelmed with their workload. Also, forming relationships with students is very important so that they will feel free to ask questions and for help when needed.

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