Catering to mental wellness

Catering to mental wellness

City life has witnessed a lot of change, especially in the last two decades. With stressful jobs that require you to spend countless hours at work, long commutes, massive competition and the added pressure of being put-together on social media, chaos is starting to become the new normal.

Adults are not the only ones who are feeling the brunt. Even children are starting to feel the mounting pressure of doing well in school and focussing solely on grades so that they can have a successful career later on in life.

Educational institutions are not only responsible for the intellectual development of students but are also responsible for ensuring that the students are happy individuals with emotional intelligence that helps them navigate the tumultuous terrains of their fears and insecurities well.

Here are six ways of helping students lead a stress-free and enriched life at school:

Emotional counselling: A therapist or counselor who is trained to listen should be available in schools. A good therapist holds space for the other person no matter how messy their confessions or revelations may be. In today’s fast-paced world, students could be upset about grades, life at home, life outside and a million things in between. By giving students a safe space to express themselves, we are giving them the gift of getting rid of some of their burdens. By airing out their concerns, students feel lighter and get a true sense of being heard, and knowing that their thoughts and feelings matter.

Meals: It is said, ‘we are what we eat’. This not only applies to the way we look but also the way we think. A balanced meal not only makes the body and mind feel healthy, but it also helps children focus better and stay full and satiated for longer hours. Removing sugary drinks and chips from the school cafeteria is a great start. So is having a nutritionist at school to plan school meals and offer students balanced meals that are the right blend of protein, carbs, vitamins etc.

Sports: Exercise is a great way to release happy hormones like dopamine. Whether it’s going for a run, doing a few laps in the pool, playing a team sport like football or cricket, exercise is a great tool to help students develop focus, have a healthy body and stay happy. It’s also a wonderful way to make them physically active after spending hours in the classroom. The more consistent they are with a sport of their choice, the better they get. And the thrill of being on the field with their teammates is magical.

Music: Listening to good music is one thing but having the skill to create music is even better. By incorporating music lessons in the school curriculum, we are offering students an opportunity to learn a new language. A language that can express many moods and feelings. Of course, you can’t learn to play an instrument without learning to develop patience and perseverance, both good for our overall development.

Yoga: Yoga helps you use the body to become more centred and mindful of yourself and the people around you. It is also a wonderful way to move your body to a slow rhythm, which also helps dissipate the mindless chatter in the mind. Schools can use yoga to teach students about mindfulness, flexibility, building strength and learning to stay fluid.

Service: Service is a great tool to show students how privileged their own lives are, not in a way that festers guilt but in a way that nurtures humility. Schools can make service a part of their school curriculum by tying up with local NGOs and involving students.

Students can then teach and play with other children from the NGOs or help resolve an issue that a local NGO may be struggling with and as a result of that experience, become more kind and more sensitive individuals.

Career counselling: Career counselling is the basic component of education, students should be aware of the importance of knowing what ambition to follow in their life. Several times due to parents pressure students choose what they don’t like and end up with career failure. Career counselors are experts who thoroughly assess the aptitude of the students according to their thought process, personality and major interests. Combining these evaluation points, they suggest the best career options for the students.

At stages where students are facing pressure and stress, these counsellors try to get to the root cause and rectify it with the available solutions and guide them with the career options that are relevant to them. The school plays a vital role in resolving the students’ anxiety, thus making them happy and focused individuals.

(The writer is director, Lancers International School, Gurugram)


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