High school is a hard time for some people. Some of us have awesome memories of our four years in high school, but for others, it was a time filled with bullying and painful memories that span well into adulthood. That’s why today, I want to talk about three ways you can be an encouragement to someone at your school, and why it makes a difference. I’ve heard countless stories about how one single person can make the difference between depression and anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. I think it’s so important to stand in the gap for people at your school, because you have no idea what they’re going through. Here are some simple ways to do that:
- Leave someone a note. There are multipacks available at the dollar store, and greeting cards that are 2/$1, which means you can do this really affordably. Think about people who could use an encouraging word, maybe someone who got a bad grade on a test after studying very hard, a student whose family is going through a hard time, or someone who is home sick. A note can really cheer up someone’s day! Want to really encourage a stranger? Tuck a cheery note into a library book, or leave it in the bathroom for someone to find and brighten their day. You can also do this with sticky notes of encouraging phrases (we have heard of students doing this with awful, teasing notes, so this is a wonderful counteraction).
- Bring someone a coffee or tea: sometimes a nice treat can be a real encouragement. People who could use a fun drink like a smoothie or coffee, would be anyone who is feeling down, or even a teacher. Teachers are rarely thanked for their hard work, and it says a lot to bring them a special treat now and again, with a handwritten note.
- Find a way to help someone in need: If you know what your strengths are, like math or science, you can find ways to tutor other students who are struggling. If you play an instrument, find out if you can play a concert at a local nursing home, and take other music students with you (be sure to check with your school to see if there is already a program set up). Research shows helping others can really decrease depression and anxiety in yourself, too!
Being an encouragement to others is the best way to counteract bullying and negativity that is happening at your school. If you want to see change, you need to have it start with you!