Student wellbeing sessions

These self-guided wellbeing sessions can be used by students in Years 7 to 12.

These videos and guided instructions will take you through activities to help you feel good, improve your resilience and build your mental health for the future.

7-10 wellbeing sessions

Maintaining connections

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-12
  • Session overview: How to identify behaviours and emotions of concern in a friend and feel confident in helping them seek support.
  • Materials needed: pen and paper.

Steps

  1. View this picture and answer the following questions in your workbook.
  • Describe what you can see in the picture.
  • What behaviours concern you about the people in the picture? Why?
  • How may these people be feeling? List at least 3 emotions and why you think this is.
  1. View the headspace resource: How to help a friend. Read the information.
  2. Imagine the person in the image you viewed before is your friend. Using your newfound knowledge, complete the following sentences:
  • One thing I could say...
  • One thing I could do is...
  • My friend might need...
  • One person I could connect my friend to...
  • One place I could connect my friend with...

Reflection: what are the 3 key messages you took away from this wellbeing session?

Self care

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-8
  • Session overview: Looking for something to do after you finish learning for the day or during the holidays? This activity is about having some fun, looking after yourself and staying connected.  
  • Materials: Paper and pen.

Steps

Your task is to create a calendar of fun activities, one for each day of the month. 

  1. Watch the videos Calendar of fun - Part 1 (10:57) and Calendar of fun - Part 2 (4:57) to get some great ideas.
  2. Think about some activities you would like to try. If you're not sure where to start, check out an example calendar of fun (PDF 112KB).
  3. Use the Calendar of fun template (DOCX 24KB) to create your own calendar of fun activities. 
  4. Start using your calendar of fun each day and tick off an activity once completed.
  5. You can also share your calendar with your friends. Talk about the activities you tried and what you thought of them.

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 9-10
  • Session overview: As humans, we are really good at taking notice of our physical health, but sometimes we’re not so good at checking in on our mental health and wellbeing. Let’s take 20 minutes to do a quick check-in quiz and then an activity to care for our wellbeing
  • Materials: workbook and pen.

Steps

Complete the ReachOut Checking in with yourself quiz. As you do the quiz, note down your responses to questions about:

  • how you are feeling
  • how you are dealing with stress
  • how motivated you feel
  • how regularly you are doing hobbies you enjoy
  • how connected you feel to family and friends
  • how you feel about the future

Next, answer these questions:

  • If you are feeling stressed or anxious, tired or flat, what are some of the things that might be making you feel this way? 
  • If you are feeling good, what are the things that are keeping your spirits high? 
  • If you are feeling disconnected from your friends, how might you reconnect? 
  • If you are feeling overconnected (often due to increased screen time) what are some ways you could manage this? 
What next?
  • At the end of the quiz you will see some recommendations on what you could do to help look after yourself. Take 10-15 minutes to complete one of these activities. 
  • Check out the ideas on Ways to chill for cheap for more suggestions. Keep in mind that if you are in lockdown, some may take a little forward planning and some may need to be modified.
  • If you’re feeling up to it, why not share this with a friend or family member? Get them to take the quiz and then do an activity together.
  • Remember: making sure we regularly reflect on how we are going is a positive step towards caring for our wellbeing. 

Who can help?

It is normal for things to change and it is okay not to be okay.

If you have identified that you aren’t in a great place with your mental health or wellbeing please start a conversation. It might be with a friend, a trusted adult or a healthcare professional. Read the helpful article from ReachOut about how to prepare for a converation.

There are also some free services you can contact at anytime in Australia:

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-10
  • Session overview: In this session we are going to make a dream jar. A dream jar is somewhere you can store all your hopes, goals, wishes, visions, resolutions and dreams in one place.
  • Materials: pen, post-it notes (or small pieces of paper), an empty jar, decorations for your jar (optional).

Steps

  1. Watch the video about creating a dream jar (5:44) before you get started.
  2. Label and decorate your empty jar, making it unique to you. View an example of a dream jar.
  3. Jot down a dream or goal you have right now on one of your post-it notes.  
  4. Think of some small steps you could do right now to get started on each goal. Write these on the post-it note, underneath the goal. 
  5. Repeat with more goals or dreams – one per post-it note.
  6. Put these in the jar. 
What next?
  • Keep adding to your dream jar over time. 
  • Remember to take out your dreams and look at them regularly as dreams can change. 
  • When you achieve your dreams, reward yourself.  

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-12
  • Session overview: This lesson will focus on observing our mindset, self-talk and resilience when approaching a difficult or frustrating task.
  • Materials: A deck of cards. If you don’t have cards, you could also use books or DVD/CD cases (approximately 15), pen and workbook.

Steps

Part 1

  1. With your deck of cards, you are going to aim to build a triangular card tower. This tower should have 3 pairs of cards on the bottom, 2 pairs of cards in the middle and on pair at the top. View an example.
  2. Set a timer and spend about 10 minutes completing this activity.
  3. When your 10 minutes is up, answer the following questions:
  • When you started the activity what were some of the things you thought to yourself?
  • If you found the activity difficult, what were some of the things you were thinking as you were finding it difficult?
  • Were your thoughts overall positive or negative?

What's the purpose of this activity?

Completing challenging tasks that have little purpose can teach us a lot about our self-talk and resilience. The things that we think when approaching new or challenging tasks can impact our ability to persevere and succeed.


Part 2

  1. View the Reachout article: How to challenge negative thoughts
  2. Read the article and write down some points you find interesting.
  3. Think of how you could use this tool when:
  • Learning from home
  • When you return to learning at school
  • Activities you are involved in outside of school (sport, part-time work, performing arts etc).


Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-8
  • Session overview: Explore the concept of stability rocks to help create a daily routine of  self care tasks.
  • Materials: pen and workbook.

Where do I start?

Self care is important for your brain to function at its best. Keeping a daily routine for our basic needs helps our body to stay physically and mentally healthy.   

Let’s start by reflecting on how we are going with some of our basic needs at the moment. Think about these questions: 

  • How well am I sleeping?  
  • How much sleep am I getting?  
  • What time do I generally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner?  
  • Do I connect with a friend each day?  
  • How often am I doing physical activity?  

When we feel stressed we can start to forget about the basics.  That’s why its important to practise self care.  

Stability rocks

Routines are one way we can maintaining our self care. Routines will help give us a sense of control, manage our emotions and improve our focus.  We can use the concept of 'stability rocks' to help create a daily routine of self care tasks. 

  • A ‘stability rock’ is a practice that adds something reliable to your life when it feels like things are spinning out of control.
  • Stability rocks (your routines and rituals) are important at these times as they give you some control over what’s going on in your life.   

Examples of ‘stability rocks’ could be:  

  • waking up at the same time every day  
  • eating regular meals  
  • going to bed at the same time every day  
  • doing some form of exercise every day  
  • reaching out to a friend each day.  

Steps

  1. Watch the video All about self care (4:30).  
  2. After watching, write down 3 interesting things you learnt from the video.  
  3. Read the information about 'stability rocks' (above).
  4. Use the Stability Rocks sheet (PDF file, 7.4 MB) to create your stability rocks list and schedule them into your week. 
  5. Put it up in your room or somewhere in your home so that you see it regularly.  

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 9-10
  • Session overview: The purpose of this activity is to stop for 20 minutes and engage in some small activities to support your wellbeing. There are several activities to choose from. 
  • Materials: Paper and pen.

Steps

Prioritise your wellbeing with a bingo style activity.

  • View the wellbeing bingo card (PDF file, 84 KB) and choose 3 activities that you would like to do today.
  • You can refer to the bingo card throughout the week and try to complete each of the set tasks.
  • You may even wish to complete the tasks and compete with a classmate or family member virtually! 

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-8
  • Session overview: We are all so busy and can often need reminding of what makes us happy. Being happy is important, it can promote a growth mindset and invigorate us to try something new or to simply get on with our day. 
  • Materials: Paper and pen.

Steps

Your task is to create an A-Z list of things or activities that make you feel happy. 

  1. Separate your page into 2 columns. 
  2. In the first column write the letters of the alphabet 
  3. In the second column for each letter, write a word, phrase or draw something that makes you feel happy. 
  4. Fill in as many as you can. 

Reflection:

  1. How did you feel creating this list? Was it easier or harder than you thought?   
  2. Did you manage to write something for each letter? You can share your list with a friend for more inspiration or to fill in any blanks.
  3. Review your list, and schedule some happiness time into your week.  For example:
  • 1 to do now
  • 2 for later this week
  • 3 for next week.

Remember, It is important to keep reminding yourself about what makes you happy in life.

What next?

  • Put your list somewhere visible in your home, so that you see it regularly as well as the people you live with.
  • You can mark off the activities you do that make you happy. See if you can do everything on your list!

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-8
  • Session overview: This session will allow you to learn about mindfulness.
  • Materials: Paper, pen and device.

Steps

  1. Start by using the link provided to go to the Bite Back website page learn mindfulness and discover more about mindfulness
  2. Use the student worksheet What is mindfulness (PDF 36KB) to answer the questions. 
  3. Return to the Bite Back webpage and take the Mindfulness Quiz that is in the Explore section  
  4. Think about the recommendations provided at the end of the quiz. How could you include these recommendations in your life? 
  5. Now imagine that you have been asked by your school to promote mindfulness to students. You can create anything that you feel would engage young people in exploring and practising mindfulness. You may like to create something like a Tik-tok video to be played on the school’s webpage, design a poster, write a series of daily messages to be texted to the school community or develop activities for a mindfulness day for all students to engage in. Or come up with your own way of promoting mindfulness. 
  6. You may want to think about the following
    1. What would be an effective medium to reach lots of students? 
    2. How will you help them learn what mindfulness is? 
    3. How will you be able to show different ways to practise mindfulness? 
    4. How can you convince them of the benefits of mindfulness? 
  7. Once you develop this strategy share it with your Year Advisor. You never know they might take your ideas on! 

11-12 wellbeing sessions (short videos)

These short activites are approximately 3 minutes

Self care

Overview

Steps

  1. Each day, try to complete the Ultimate Wellbeing Bingo card to make sure you do things to care for yourselves.
  2. You could even make your own!

Additional resources

Overview

  • Play audio for instructions and provide students with a digital or hardcopy of the self-care checklist. 

Steps

  1. Listen to self-care checklist (0:41)
  2. Reflect on how well you are currently doing self-care by using the checklist resource (DOCX 87KB)
  3. Consider areas you could focus on more and set goals to improve these areas of your wellbeing. Do this by completing the second page of the document.

Self-care checklist audio transript

Hey everyone, today is the day that we're going to look at how well we're doing self-care by using the self-care checklist. Reflect on how well you're currently doing self-care by using this checklist.

It's been created by the NSW Department of Education as a way for you to monitor how well you're looking after your wellbeing.

Once you go through the checklist, you'll notice that there's not yet, sometimes, usually or always. This is a scope for you to be able to map yourself.

Consider the areas you could focus more on and set goals to improve these areas of your wellbeing.

Do this by completing the second page of the document where it gives you a better chance to set some goals and reflect on how well you've been doing your self-care.

Overview

  • Identifying unhelful though patterns and systematically replacing those thoughts with a helpful and empowering mindset.

Steps

  1. Watch Self care – Thoughts we think – helpful vs unhelpful thoughts (3:12)
  2. Follow the instructions.
  3. What you could try to do is write down 3 ‘unhelpful’ thoughts you may say to yourself or maybe some else might tell themselves.
  4. Cross them out, and write down a more helpful thought that focusses more on what it is you actually want to feel.
  5. Now, for each of your helpful thoughts/statements, what can you do to make it happen? If you want to feel calmer and in control, what could you do? If you want to feel more connected with friends, what could you do?

Overview

  • We all face dilemmas in our everyday lives. Sometimes we have to make a difficult decision and we may take action without thinking things through, avoid making the decision or give up too easily.

Steps

  1. Watch Facing dilemmas (2:31)
  2. Write down a dilemma you may be facing right now (e.g. to study or not to study, quit your part-time job or keep it or even whether to ask someone for help or not).
  3. Write down a few things about how it makes you FEEL (frustrated, stressed, annoyed etc.)
  4. Write down some things that you could DO to manage those feelings (e.g if you’re feeling frustrated, what could you do to feel less frustrated?)
  5. These steps can help you manage facing many dilemmas by identifying your feelings, thinking things through and making a plan for how to manage your emotions.

Overview

  • Ever feeling like you have a lot of energy and need to get it out? Or feel down and need to take some time by yourself? Feeling happy and in the mood for some fun? Or maybe even angry and you just need a relief from all that frustration? A way you can do that is by creating a dance party playlist. 
  • A great way to let all those emotions out and get you physically expressing this is by creating a music playlist or finding a playlist on Spotify or YouTube.  
  • It’s a great way to release all those built-up emotions.  
  • Be sure to take the time to release your feelings in a constructive way like a dance party or talking to someone. 

Additional resources

Overview

  • What foods are best for your brain and mood? 
  • Let’s have a look at some different foods and a recipe to help keep your mind and body healthy. You don’t need to be the world’s best chef for this recipe! 

Steps

  1. Watch Brain food (4:05)
  2. Get a variety of healthy foods to make a healthy breakfast.

Overview

  • This session talks about the importance of having someone to listen when we share our ups and downs. This does not mean that we need always someone to give us advice or tell us what to do; it simply means having someone there to share our feelings.

Steps

Steps

  1. Watch A trip to the beach (2:08)
  2. Take a couple of minutes to get away. Enjoy this trip to the beach – the sounds you might hear and sights you might see.

School and study support

Steps

Watch Minimising cognitive overload (2:36) to find out some ways to free your brain, reduce cognitive overload and make your learning and study time more efficient and effective.

Being active

Overview

  • How long have you been there in the same spot doing work? When was the last time you got up and got your body moving? Did you know that how you sit can impact your focus and productivity? 
  • Sitting in random and unnatural ways can cause strain and tension in your back and neck. 
  • It’s important to maintain good posture and take regular movement breaks to keep your mind activated and on task.

Here’s how to help you do this

  1. Watch Posture and movement (1:20)
  2. Make sure you sit up straight as best you can in a supportive and comfortable chair, not your bed or the lounge or floor. 
  3. Set a timer to take regular movement breaks. These could be stretching, walk around your home, short workouts or yoga. You could even try to set a challenge to navigate your way around your home (like crawling, rolling or skipping). 
  4. Remember to look after your posture and get your body moving as regularly as you can.

Overview

  • It is important to get away from your study to get active and do some exercise as this will improve the health of your mind and body.
  • Try to do at least 15 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • You can do lots of things at home without a lot of equipment as you will see in the exercises shown in the video.
  • You may want to design and share a workout with your friends or develop one that can be shared by your school to help everyone stay active.

Steps

Watch Get active (2:27)

Managing change

Overview

  • Identifying things that we can control and accepting things that we are beyond our control.

Steps

  1. Watch Managing change - in and out of control (2:51)
  2. Grab a piece of A4 paper and fold it like this.
  3. Then find 2 different coloured pens, pencils or textas.
  4. On one side, write a heading “Things I can control” and on the other side, write “Things I need to accept that are out of my control”
  5. Write down as many things you can think of that you can control in your life and things that are beyond what we can control.
  6. Put this somewhere in your room, home etc. and read it every day to remind yourself that understanding these concepts can help you regulate your state of mind.

Reaching out

Overview

  • Consider 5 Things you can do to make yourself feel better or lift your mood and 5 People or places you can go to for advice or support.

Steps

  1. Watch Reaching out 5 and 5 (3:08).
  2. Follow the instructions in the video to reflect on 5 things that you can do to make yourself feel better or lift your mood.
  3. Then think about 5 people or places that you can go to for advice or support.
  4. Plan ways to overcome feelings of loneliness and maintain connections.

Additional resources

11-12 wellbeing sessions (in-depth)

More in-depth wellbeing activities (approximately 20 minutes).

Being active

Overview

  • This session will explore the importance of regular activity for your mental health and wellbeing and help you develop a weekly movement routine to help you plan when and how to move each day. 

Steps

  1. Watch the video Move Me (12:04) to learn more about how regular activity can benefit your mood, clear your mind of stress and worry, build relationships and help improve your sleep. You will also get some tips on how to get and stay motivated to be active.   
  2. When prompted stop and pause the video to complete the following activities in the session. 
    1. List as many was as you can that you could enjoy being active 
    2. Create a weekly plan (PDF 79KB) on when and how you will move each day for 30 minutes 

Additional resources

Managing change

Overview

  • Session overview: Feeling stressed about life right now? Check out this video to help you cope better.
  • Materials needed: Pen and paper

Steps

  1. Watch Self care - Stress (11:17)
  2. Follow the step by step instructions

Overview

  • This session will help you to develop strategies solving problems & change the things that are stressing you out. In particular you will practice using a problem solving tool for problems that are within your control. 

Steps

  1. If you haven’t watched the first Coping with stress video (11:17) try and watch this before doing this session to build your understanding of stress. 
  2. Then watch the video Stress part 2 – Change strategies (10:35) to learn strategies you can use to change how you manage stress that you can and can’t control.  
  3. Follow the prompts in the video to practise using one strategy - Active Problem Solving.  
  4. You will be guided through the 7 steps in this strategy using an example and have time to use these steps to practise solving a problem that you identify. 

Overview

  • Life is filled with difficult decisions, especially in the final years of high school. This session will teach you a life-long skill that can help you make up your mind when faced with important or difficult decisions by choosing to act on what is most meaningful to you.  
  • The video will take you through a step-by-step tool that can be used when making difficult decisions. 

Steps

  1. Begin by thinking about an important decision you are trying to make and then start the video Making difficult decisions (13:12)
  2. Pause when prompted to complete the steps involved in thinking about the options and what is important to you.   

School and study support

Overview

  • Having a hard staying focused on your work? This video will help you stop procrastinating & get stuff done!

Steps

  1. Watch the video Limiting procrastination - Tips to get things done! (16:40)
  2. Follow the instructions.

Overview

  • Finding it difficult to stay motivated when everything keeps changing?
  • You can increase you motivation, stay on track, build your resilience and gain a greater sense of purpose by connecting to your personal values.
  • In this session, you will uncover and identify your personal values and then plan ways you can act on them in your everyday life to help you stay motivated.

Steps

  1. Watch the video Using your values to stay motivated (13:50).
  2. Follow along with each of the activities provided in the video to enable you to identify your core values and then plan for how you can act on your values in different life domains.
  3. You can pause to complete each activity included in the session and take as long as you need to complete these activities.

Overview

  • Suitable for: Years 7-12
  • Session overview: Not sure which study method is best for you? This session will help you understand more about your learning style and provide you with some different strategies to best study for your exams. 

Steps

  1. Watch the Study tips video (3:41). When prompted, view the video Discover your learning style (3:31) on YouTube.
  2. Think about your learning style and answer these questions:
  • What type of learner are you?
  • What works best for you when you're studying?
  • What strategies could you try next time you study?

 

Looking for more study tips and ideas?

Check out the exam tips in the Stay Healthy HSC resource hub.

Self care

Steps

  • Watch Self care - Sleep (14:52). to learn more about
    • the importance of sleep
    • sleep cycles
    • how sleep effects our physical, psychological, psychosocial and cognitive health
    • ways to assess your sleep hygiene
    • tips to improve your sleep habits
  • When prompted, pause the video and complete the tasks outlined in the session. This will provide you with a chance to think more about the important role sleep plays in our wellbeing, enable you to reflect on your own sleep habits and give you an opportunity to undertake a sleep hygiene check-in that will help you plan ways to improve your sleep.

Overview

  • This session is about introducing mindfulness, the hype, the theory and the benefits.

Steps

  1. Play the video on Mindfulness (12:20) to learn more about what it is, how it can benefit your wellbeing and to practise some mindfulness techniques.  
  2. Follow the instructions within the video when prompted to respond to the questions posed or to try some mindfulness activities.  
  3. If you want to learn more about mindfulness you might want to watch this short video (1:20)
  4. If you want to try more mindfulness activities after the session you can visit the Mindfulness for Teens website.

Overview

  • During this session you will learn about the benefits of using breathing technique for managing stress, helping to relax and improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Steps

  1. Start by watching the video Mindfulness - The power of breathing (13:25) to find out about how active breathing techniques can assist with relaxation.  
  2. When prompted, pause the video to think about the questions and then practise the different breathing techniques included in the session. 
  3. These techniques include
    • Counting your breath 
    • Deep breathing or abdominal breathing 
    • Boxed breathing 
    • Alternate nostril breathing 
  4. You may want to choose to continue practising these techniques after the session or download a breathing app shown in the presentation to try during or after the session.

Additional resources

Overview

  • Students will be introduced to the idea of body scan meditation and taken through 2 guided sessions.  
  • There will be some questions about their experiences and the information they will read on the Headspace website.

Steps

  1. Watch Body scan (2:21)
  2. Pause the video to complete the activities when instructed.

Additional resources

Steps

  1. Watch Sounds of a day (2:25)
  2. Take a break. Stop and actually listen to the sounds of a neighbourhood throughout the day. Try this in your neighbourhood for a day. Take a couple of minutes to listen to stop and listen to what you hear around you. 
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