Summer is ending which means back to the classrooms for teachers and school-aged children. After having the summer off, sitting in a classroom for hours and abiding by a strict schedule can be stressful and a difficult adjustment for many. Teachers and parents most likely agree that the first couple of weeks of school is the most difficult to adjust. Teachers play a major role in promoting a mentally and physically healthy classroom environment for students of all ages. Below are tips and tricks that teachers can adopt in order for schoolchildren to be mentally stimulated in the classroom:

  • Provide access to drinking water and adequate bathroom breaks
  • Allowing students to carry water bottles in class and visit the drinking fountain frequently not only keeps them hydrated but also helps curb cravings for sugary drinks such as juices and sodas. Dehydration can result in headaches and other physical ailments, which may impede cognitive levels in the classroom.
  • Create a physically active classroom

Although this may take some creativity, engaging students in movement skills during the learning process can help keep them mentally stimulated. Maybe have the option of standing desks, or beanbag chairs or encourage students to stand up and write their answers on the whiteboard. Physical movement in the classroom and changing physical positions while in the classroom can help with the learning process.

Social Media and Eating Disorders

Thinspiration, Bonespiration and Fitspiration not only focus on body images but also use quotes for weight loss, and techniques on best weight-loss exercises in order to spread the message that “skinny is more beautiful”. This particularly affects teenagers and young adults as studies have shown that teenagers on average spend four to nine hours a day on social media. Many teenagers turn to social media as a way to connect and feel empowered and do this by posting selfies in order to fit in. Although social media can bring a sense of community, it can also result in bullying and a need for a higher sense of self-gratification. There are many underlying factors that contribute to the development of an eating disorder and social media engagement can lead to some of these factors but is not a direct cause for the development of an eating disorder.

What Causes Eating Disorders?

Many individuals believe that eating disorders are centered on food when in reality; food is not the culprit for the development of an eating disorder. The need to look a certain way and weigh a specific number is triggered by deeper underlying unresolved conflicts. Engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as binging, purging, restricting and excessive exercise are ways to control certain aspects of life when other areas may be spiraling out of control. For example, an individual may feel he or she cannot control their unhealthy romantic relationship but they can control what they eat, how much weight they gain and how long they exercise for. Needing this sense of control, even if it unhealthy, may allow individuals to feel as if they are in control of their life. The American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that past abuse or trauma, low-self esteem, bullying, poor parental relationships, borderline personality disordersubstance abuse, non-suicidal self-injury disorder (NSSI), a perfectionistic personality, difficulty communicating negative emotions, difficulty resolving conflict, and genetics are known underlying triggers that contribute to the development of an eating disorder.

Eating Disorder Treatment

Studies have shown that approximately 10 percent of individuals seek treatment for their eating disorders and the average time between symptom onset and when they enter treatment is eight years. Once in treatment, the majority of individuals who do seek drastically improve and depending on the specific treatment center, readmission and relapse rates are very low. It is never too early or too late to seek treatment.