It’s OK To Feel Anxious: Ways to Help Students

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It’s OK To Feel Anxious!

Kids today are no strangers to the debilitating effects of feeling anxious and depressed, especially during a pandemic.  The pressures to perform and succeed begin building up at an early age and only increase as they get older.  Coupled with the fear of sickness and isolation from others, it’s no wonder why kids, teachers, and parents are anxious.


Children often struggle with being open about their anxiety.  Young kids have a hard time putting a name to their emotions, and older children and teens frequently feel embarrassed.  They equate anxiety with weakness, and this can cause them to become even more withdrawn.

Becuase I am experincing bouts of anxiety with my son, I’m here to help you develop and employ simple strategies to help your own kids or students with anxiety. Here are some ways to help students understand anxiety is not a horrible thing.


Feeling Anxious – Write About It

One way to help students become more comfortable addressing their anxiety is to incorporate writing through journaling.  This doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, five or ten minutes can help them process their emotions.

Selecting prompts that directly address anxiety and coping strategies would be the most impactful, such as the ones found here.  I would strongly suggest completing these activities with your students or own children.  It’s humanizing for children to see this side of you and helpful to hear how you combat the stress and anxiety in your own life.


Want To Know About Anxiety – Read About It

There are so many wonderful children’s books, articles, and personal stories out there for people who struggle with anxiety.  Bringing these into your classroom or home is a powerful way to help students understand how common anxiety really is.

Children’s books are a wonderful and engaging way to open up discussions about anxiety and coping mechanisms with young children. Use writing pieces such as personal stories and nonfiction articles on the topic of anxiety to teach elements of storytelling and close reading skills.


Stressed And Anxious – Talk About It

Oftentimes, students seem to think that teachers or other adults are operating in some kind of parallel but very separate universe, one where they themselves were never working a job while in school, struggling to pay bills, or regularly dealing with stress.  How could they ever get this impression?

Well, part of the reason for this is because teachers may feel like they’re oversharing or unprofessional if they reveal to their students that they suffer from mental health issues.  Teachers may feel that students could view them as less qualified or incapable of doing their job.



However, students NEED to hear that other people worry about things and how they make it through.  That once upon a time in an alternate universe where you were, you too went through a bad breakup the night before a test and still went in and took that test.   Or, you know what?  Maybe you stayed home, ate Oreos, binge-watched Real Housewives, and took the test the next day.  And they need to hear that too.

Making a habit of talking about anxiety in the classroom and at home does much to reduce the stigma that surrounds it, and can be transformative for both students and yourself.  Not only is it a form of self-care, but it also helps to create a sense of community and caring within your classroom ot home.  My hope is that you can utilize these suggestions to help kids know that It’s OK to feel anxious, and that anxiety is not a horrible thing.


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LaToyia, The Motivated Mom


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