So it begins- the testing season is here! In my post this month, I will share lots of tips and techniques for helping students handle stress. Whether it is test stress support, stress management strategies, or help in coping with general anxiety, I’ve got you covered here.
Helping Students Handle Stress- Background Info
Stress and anxiety push all body systems to the max and it’s no walk in the park. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that stress harms many different body systems such as, musculo-skeletal, endocrine, reproductive, respiratory, nervous, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular. Here’s a link to the full APA article on different ways that stress harms the body if you want to read it . Anxiety also inhibits performance, which is especially detrimental to students that have to perform well in high stakes state testing.
Helping Students Handle Stress-Resources
Luckily, there are many ways to reduce the effects of stress (especially those caused by test anxiety) and even to prevent it in the first place. Since much of test anxiety is linked to a fear of failure, it’s very enlightening for students to watch this fabulous Michael Jordan commercial that views failure from a completely different (Growth Mindset oriented) perspective. Showing this commercial is a great lead into a discussion about how a test is just a test and how test failure today can lead to academic success tomorrow. Alternately, you can show students this informational and fun video on the causes and effects of stress.
Helping Students Handle Stress- More Resources
Here is a comprehensive toolkit of my other favorite stress and anxiety reduction resources:
- I love this Edutopia article on different techniques that you can teach kids to manage stress in the classroom.
- Have you heard of playdough made out of essential oils?!? Is this not the coolest idea??? Check out essential oil playdough from thepinningmama.com.
- Coloring relieves everyone’s stress! So check out these freebie coloring mandalas that you can download from printmandala.com.
- Check out my own spring guidance lesson on battling test stress and general anxiety. This guidance lesson gives students simple and effective calming strategies.
- Testing Ms. Malarky and Salt in his Shoes are two of the best picture books on this topic.
- My freebie game (and accompanying calming self-talk activity), No Worries BINGO, lets students have fun while they learning anti-anxiety strategies.
- The Mayo Clinic has this wonderful article on different techniques to reduce stress!
- Stress can lead to unhealthy coping skills, so teach your students about healthy coping skills with this freebie Healthy Coping Skills Activity on my Resources and Links page here!
- Kidshealth.org has wonderful anti-anxiety resources in Spanish and English for kids and teens.
Well, I hope all the goodies above can help get you and your students through this testing season. You can also look for my new book coming out in the next month to get you through NEXT year’s testing season: Get Your Group On: Multi Topic Small Group Counseling Guides, Volume Two. It includes an entire 8 session stress management counseling guide, as well as two other guides on academic achievement and grief.
Newsy & Noteworthy
- Tis the Season for…staff presentations?!?! Yup! As spring fever hits us, student crises and trauma reactions seem to take off. Help your staff out with these presentations (one is even FREE!) that you can give them on crisis prevention and trauma-informed practices. These resources are appropriate for use as staff presentations or even just as informational packets for your own use. Click on the photos below for more details or to download!
- My counseling team was so honored in March when our school district recognized us for excellence in school counseling! Here we are with big, shiny smiles as we pose with our principal, counselor coordinator, superintendent, and board members.
- Guess who is the newest member of the Angelo State University curriculum and instruction team!? This girl! I am beyond excited to be an instructor this spring for a career counseling class. Go, Rams!
That brings me to the end of April’s counseling post. Please leave a comment because I’d love to hear about how you work stress management into your counseling program. Catch up with me again next month when I discuss helpful tips for interviewing and job hunting in the counseling world!
Happy Easter and Happy Passover!