By Bethe Almeras, Director of Early Care and Education and Disabilities Studies and Services, FHI 360
“There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning is all linked.” — Eric Jensen
While the attention to the emotional well-being of our students has grown over the last decade, it has never been more important than it is now. Even the most resilient and “emotionally well” of us have been hit hard by the pandemic – from the initial fear of the unknown and change in our routines, to the social isolation, and ultimately the surprising reality that we are still in it. COVID is still a national and global reality and the fatigue that we are all feeling—including our students, their families, and our staff—is all too real.
So, what does it mean to be emotionally well? One cornerstone of emotional wellness is not the lack of “negative” emotions or problems, but how an individual is able to navigate them. Consider the following as you think about the students you are working with. Do they have:
- The ability to recognize their feelings and identify problems,
- The ability to feel a range of feelings/emotions not just the “good” ones like joy and happiness, but fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety,
- The ability to recognize their role in their thoughts, actions, and issues,
- The capacity to be flexible, and
- The capacity to ask for help.
Helping students build emotional wellness and resilience is an important investment in not only their ability to learn and have academic success, but to be an engaged part of the school community, and develop the resilience, social, and life skills they will need to have a meaningful life. Regardless of their postsecondary path, investing in students’ emotional well-being will pay huge dividends.
Need to add strategies and resources to your toolbox? Check out the Emotional Well-Being section in our online guide, The Comeback!