A simple exercise to help young people practice daily mental health hygiene.
5 minutes each day
or 15 minutes once a week
Number of people
1-to-1 or in a group
You and young people will need:
- Your usual method of communicating remotely and safely with your young person or group
- Somewhere to capture thoughts; pen and paper, digital etc.
Things to consider
- Consider whether it is more suitable for your young people to share in a group, or keep it private.
- You can run this in a number of ways. You might do this activity quickly every time you meet. You might do it once a week and spend more time creating in-depth answers. Or you might ask young people to take ownership of it and do it daily by themselves. They might keep a journal or record short videos.
- It is all about giving young people a tool to “check-in” on their own mental health; to notice changes and to find grounding and routine.
How to introduce the activity
In the same way that we look after our teeth by brushing them everyday, we can look after our minds with simple habits like this.
Running the activity
- Ask young people to think about and write answers for each of the following statements:
Something I am grateful for today/this week
Something I learned today/this week
Something I will do just for me today/this week
Something I need this week
- Do you want young people to share their answers with each other and you? This can be a good way to help young people express how they are feeling and to learn from each other. Some young people might not be comfortable with sharing their answers. Don’t pressure them to do so. What is important is that they take the time to think about the answers for themselves. They don’t even need to write them down!
- Answers can be written, drawn, spoken, sung, or even just thought.
- Try “popcorn style” when asking young people to share back. “Popcorn style” means that anyone can share first, anyone can follow them and if anyone would like to stay silent, they can. It is called popcorn style because often you find that people are slow to share to begin with, but then everyone wants to jump in and share! Encourage to listen to each other without comment or judgement.