3 Creative Ways to Boost Social Emotional Wellness in High School Students

With ever-growing caseloads, pressures from administrators, and responsibilities that feel counterproductive to our overall counseling goals (a sad, but often true reality), it can feel daunting for us counselors to find new ways to make meaningful connections with our students. We may see deficits in our students’ social emotional wellness, but can be left wondering how to equip them with tools that are truly going to make a difference in their lives.

social emotional wellness

If you’re looking for some fresh ways to build your students’ social emotional wellness skills, read on to discover how digital activities offer a wealth of opportunities to meet your students where they are at and build skills for the future.

Real quick…If you’ve been here awhile, you know it is my goal to not only foster a community of counselors to share ideas, challenges, and successes but also to provide resources that are actually working for school counselors around the country. Take a minute to look over my Digital Activities Mega Bundle (helping you work smarter, not harder, with a TON of digital activities that are ready to go), and then pop back to this post to see how you can use these resources to reach students.

1- Bring social emotional wellness to the classroom level

Use the classroom setting to build in social emotional wellness learning. The digital activities available in my Mega Bundle cover topics such as grief and loss, body image, and anger management. The slides offered in these activities can be a great jumping-off point for classroom discussion — whether that’s done individually or during group breakouts. Bring other resources in such as Kahoot, Mentimeter, and expo boards to vote or show responses to poll-like questions.

It is key to remember that success on the classroom level means making things easier for our teachers. Think about how to tie up a lesson in a nice, neat package with handouts, discussion questions, and video teaching. Then, you can reproduce the lessons easily to other classes for a larger reach.

I am aware of the very real barriers that exist between counselors and getting into the classroom. If this resonates with you, be sure to check out this post on how to overcome challenges to reaching students in the classroom setting.

2- Build social emotional wellness through digital check-ins

You can connect with your students in a variety of ways digitally. Individual emails are a great way to check in with students. Send your students a Google Slides deck with activities that build social emotional wellness. They can fill it out and send it back to you. (A bit more curious about how that works? Read about “4 Practical Ways to Incorporate Digital Check Ins” here.)

For example, in my Digital Activities Mega Bundle, you’ll notice a Google Slides activity that helps students identify and explore patterns of thinking fueled by negative thoughts. The activity is designed to help students consider ways to replace those thoughts through interactive drag-and-drop activities that allow you to give students immediate feedback and interaction that build these life skills.

Google Classroom is also a great interactive resource for digital check-ins. I provide detailed instructions in the Mega Bundle on how to apply these lessons with Google Classroom.

3- Do social emotional wellness check-ins through individual counseling sessions

Whether you are conducting an individual counseling session in person or via video chat, consider bringing planned activities into these meetings that involve social emotional wellness. The resources that you use on a classroom level or through digital check-ins, also lend themselves quite naturally to individual meetings. You can walk through a slide deck with a student individually, or pick and choose topics and questions that are most relevant to their situation.

For example, a sensitive topic like Body Image may work well in a one-on-one setting. My pre-made slide decks offer activities that help students build awareness of their self-image, self-talk, and how to create healthy self-care routines. The prompts serve as great conversation starters with students.

With so many needs and complexities in the lives of our students, social emotional wellness can feel like a huge topic, making it difficult to know where to start. Hopefully the resources and methods mentioned above can help you get started in a meaningful way. Truthfully, every small step and interaction with students can make a world of difference. So keep your head up and don’t stop fighting for intentional connections with students. Your effort is worth the impact!

For more resources on social emotional wellness, head here for a variety of blogs and podcast episodes on the topic. Happy counseling!

social emotional wellness

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