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”

  • So important! I love some of the suggestions you’ve made for our students and it has made me a bit more aware of what to expect as our students return to school, both virtually and face to face. Our students need this kind of support now more than ever! Thank you.

  • Great article! Good information in helping us to help the student’s social and emotional needs.

  • Encouraging students to exercise, eat good food, participate and be engaged with own learning, and beling available to the students and their parents is essential to help guide students through a season of virtual learning.

  • Learning with peers and family can also help. self care and stress reduction techniques help

  • We really don’t know what each student is dealing with at home. We need to be approachable and understanding.

  • This might be a little harder for my preschoolers, but we can certainly try to encourage them to talk or maybe draw a picture to help them and us to understand the stresses of today.

  • Hello Sarah,
    Your article really made me think about how I interact with the students. It is important to let them know that we really do care and have their best interests at heart, particularly in more dangerous times, like this pandemic and violence in the streets. So many young people today are disrespectful to people in authority over them and if you do care, you have to tell them that their conduct and manner of expression won’t be tolerated on a job or by the police. Teachers that don’t care allow them to talk how they want.

  • I love the encouragement suggestions. Reminding students to take time to move is key and helping them be mindful enough to know when their body needs movement. A lot of meditation and yoga in the classroom and virtual setting helps students to be mindful; physically and emotionally connected. Teaching and encouraging students to utilize their senses in nature, with creativity and by mindfully connecting with others are all great ways for students to remain focused on learning and in touch with their own self care.

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