In a rapidly changing education system impacted by school closures and online learning, student well-being is more critical than ever. Recent studies have shown a concerning increase in mental health concerns among students, highlighting the need for schools to play a pivotal role in supporting their health and well-being. As educators, we may not be trained mental health professionals, but we have the power to make a positive impact on our students' lives by incorporating well-being practices, such as embracing the seven forms of rest. The seven forms of rest is rooted in and inspired by the research of Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith.
Encouraging students to explore their passions and engage in creative outlets can be a form of rest for their minds. Let's offer projects or assignments that allow students to tap into their imagination and enjoy the creative process rather than solely focusing on the outcome. Providing opportunities for artistic expression and innovative thinking can enhance their overall well-being.
Creating a safe and supportive space for students to express their emotions is essential for their well-being. By nurturing an environment where students feel comfortable sharing their feelings, we can help them find emotional rest. Introducing mindfulness or relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises can also empower students to regulate their emotions and find inner peace.
In a world of constant stimulation, we can create a classroom environment that promotes focus and concentration. By implementing strategies to reduce information overload, such as providing clear instructions and minimizing distractions, we can offer students moments of mental clarity and calm. Consider incorporating mindfulness exercises, brief meditation sessions, or even peaceful reading corners to support students' mental rest.
To help our students release tension and recharge their energy, we can integrate movement breaks and physical activities into the daily schedule. From quick stretches to energizing dance breaks, these activities can invigorate both body and mind. Let's explore some activities like yoga sessions, brain breaks with music, or engaging outdoor play to foster physical rest.
Many students struggle with sensory overload in a busy classroom. As teachers, we can create sensory-friendly environments that minimize distractions and promote sensory rest. By designating quiet spaces or sensory corners, students can retreat to find calm and reset their senses when needed.
Fostering positive and meaningful social connections among students is vital for their sense of belonging and well-being. Group projects, collaborative activities, and empathy-building exercises can create opportunities for social rest. Encouraging open communication and support among peers can lead to a nurturing social environment.
Supporting students in exploring their values, beliefs, and inner sense of purpose is crucial for their spiritual well-being. Moments of reflection, gratitude, or mindfulness practices can be integrated into the classroom routine to cultivate spiritual rest. These practices can foster a deeper connection with oneself and others.
By embracing the seven forms of rest, we can create an inclusive and supportive classroom environment that prioritizes student well-being. As teachers, we have the power to make a lasting impact on our students' lives, not only academically but also emotionally and mentally. Let's continue to explore innovative strategies and practices that promote rest and foster a positive and enriching learning experience for all our students. Together, we can create a culture of well-being that empowers our students to thrive and reach their full potential.
Here are some additional resources to support your restful journey:
Calm for Schools: Access mindfulness and meditation resources specifically designed for educators. https://www.calm.com/schools
Insight Timer for Teachers: Join a community of teachers and access a wide range of meditation practices. https://insighttimer.com/meditation-teachers/join
Headspace for Educators: Discover guided meditations to calm your mind and reduce stress. https://www.headspace.com/educators
Mood Meter: Use this app to track and understand your emotions for better emotional well-being. https://moodmeterapp.com/
GoNoodle | Get Moving on YouTube: Get active and have fun with these energizing movement videos. https://www.youtube.com/@GoNoodle
Headspace Guide to Meditation on Netflix: Explore the power of meditation with this inspiring series on Netflix. https://www.netflix.com/title/81280926
Balance: Enhance your sleep and relaxation with this app's personalized soundscapes. https://balanceapp.com/
CBT Thought Diary: Practice cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques for a clearer mindset. https://cbtthoughtdiary.com/
Dalton-Smith, S. (2019). Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, and Restore Your Sanity FaithWords.
Dalton-Smith, S., MD. (2022, October 16). The seven types of rest that every person needs ideas.ted.com.
Hossain S., O’Neill S., and Strnadová I. What Constitutes Student Well-Being: A Scoping Review Of Students’ Perspectives Child Indic Res. 2023;16(2):447–483. doi: 10.1007/s12187-022-09990-w. Epub 2022 Nov 16. PMID: 36405573; PMCID: PMC9668225.