A student sits in class, overwhelmed and unsure what to do. They have tons of homework and just need a period to rest. Days are stressful, especially with lots of homework and the current pandemic. Many students feel very stressed during this time. Luckily, it’s a Friday, and the PE department has decided to start social-emotional learning on Fridays. Their teacher, Colleen Eddy now can give her students a period to focus on themselves.
“Students have reported feeling more motivated, calmer, more relaxed, and that they have clearer minds,” Eddy says.
The reason the students are feeling more motivated is due to the PE department deciding to do Mental Health Fridays.
“The PE department decided to start focusing on mental health or SEL (social and emotional learning) on Fridays because it is a great opportunity to focus solely on that aspect of student health,” says Eddy.
“In PE we mostly work on physical health and physical activity,” she adds. “While mental/emotional health is affected positively by physical activity, remote Friday’s has allowed students to try different techniques to improve their mental health.”
Some techniques teachers may use are motivational videos and then talking about how those videos made them feel and what they found most inspiring. Colleen Eddy does other things as well.
“On Friday’s I have introduced a variety of guided meditation videos for the students to participate in remotely. In the past I have also done yoga, and some teachers use motivational talks,” she says.
Colleen Eddy’s students have found that mental health Fridays have helped them. One student, junior Lilliana Benitez says that, “Mental health Fridays have made me feel refreshed. It’s a good end to the long week.”
Benitez believes the PE department should continue mental health Fridays because it helps them feel refreshed and relaxed.
“I really do think we should continue mental health Fridays because I think it can put everyone in a positive mood and forget about all the stresses they might have too!” Benitez says.
Another student, freshman Maye Waters, says that she believes mental health Fridays are useful for students.
“We should continue mental health Fridays because it allows time for yourself,” she says, “I like it because it’s a peaceful time set out … because I’m always rushing and stressing.”
Many believe it is always a good idea to give students an option to learn more about their mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s yoga, motivational talks, or guided meditation, all of the SEL forms can be helpful for students and it’s important to many to keep those Friday sessions going for as long as possible. It’s encouraging for many to hear that teachers and staff are making an impact on student’s mental health in a positive way.