A Step Towards Mental Well-Being
Just as we do a check-up for our physical ailments, we need to check on our mental well-being too.
“Self-care is how you take your power back.” ~ Lalah Delia. I firmly believe in this statement. Society in general has put a taint on mental health and a restrain on even speaking or discussing it. It’s high time we clear that taint and provide a clear platform for all to express their views on it. We as humans should be aware of our own feelings and as educators help our students, teachers, and team members to be aware of their feelings as well. This will help them to find their own negative triggers and prevent things from getting worst.
Looking ahead at the 21st century we have made a lot of changes in our perspectives on a lot of things around us. The education system also has been evolving and so are other systems around us. We are promoting independence, research, and analytical-based studies for professional growth then why not research one’s feelings? Why not analyze our own feelings?
We speak about the world being a safe place for the next generation…. We need to give them a platform to express their anxiety, fear, depression, and burnout… then they will feel safe from within. They will have the courage to face the external challenges that confront them daily be it personally or professionally.
We all go through different moods in a day. Sometimes we are jolly and full of fun, and we are happy for no reason, we just feel good but sometimes it’s just the opposite. We feel gloomy, sad, and sensitive about minor things. At times it’s easy to express sometimes we mask it.
It is normal for all of us to feel this way, the question is – do we go back to feeling normal quickly? If we don’t then it’s time to analyse ourselves. Is my mental well-being in danger? These moods contribute majorly to our mental well-being. It needs to be in check.
Just as we do a check-up for our physical ailments, we need to check on our mental well-being too. I came across a very interesting blog on mental well-being and a checklist for our mental health check-up. I am sharing it below:
You may want to have a mental health check-in if:
- You don’t want to start your day or leave your house
- You argue with people around you
- You find only negatives in a situation
- You don’t like to do things you usually do
You may try things that you have read or heard to help you out, you may also take professional help if need be. This can be done on an individual front.
Educators today have a huge role to play when it comes to the mental well-being of students and teachers. We need to give them that comfort zone where they can feel that their mental well-being is taken care of. We need to help build a happy culture that gives our teachers and students the confidence and courage to face their challenges positively.
We must learn to track our emotions or moods. It’s very important to know the graph of our moods. This helps us to analyze ourselves better. We need to teach our students to take personal responsibility in terms of their mental health. This needs to be done at a younger age.
Once they know to track their emotions, they become self-aware. This awareness will help them to do stress management.
As a school, we need to provide lessons on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This has to be a whole school approach involving teachers and parents too. Students and teachers should be able to make healthy lifestyle choices and understand the effect of their choices on their health and well-being.
We as educators should be able to provide students with information and deepen their understanding of the choices they make. We must provide students with the intellectual skills required to reflect critically on these choices and on the influences that society brings on them, including through peer pressure, advertising, social media, and family and cultural values.
There is a direct link between well-being and academic achievement and vice versa, i.e. well-being is a crucial prerequisite for achievement and achievement is essential for well-being. We need to help them to balance it correctly. Physical activity is associated with improved learning and the ability to concentrate. Strong, supportive relationships in school and at home, provide students with the emotional resources to step out of their intellectual ‘comfort zone and explore new ideas and ways of thinking, which is fundamental to educational achievement.
As a school, I feel we can take a few practical steps for the well-being of teachers and students:
- Each member should feel valued and known and that they have a purpose in school
- We should create a welcoming environment that will help them to feel safe and supported
- Promote and use teaching methods that contribute to a positive classroom environment
- Provide opportunities for them to express their feelings
- Provide healthy food options in the cafeteria
- Work with the parent community closely for the well-being of students
We do not have control over external factors or things that happen outside the school environment. The promotion of mental well-being may at times conflict with other school priorities however we all need to be consciously aware of our own mental well-being and of others at the same time, only then we will be able to clean the taint.
Let’s come together and address the well-being of our teachers and students openly. There is a lot to do, let’s take the first step, together.
Author – Shilpa Hiwale, Head Mistress, C P Goenka International School, Thane