Practice Self-Care - Classroom Activity | MGH Clay Center

Activity #3: Practice Self-Care

MGH Clay Center Self-Care for Resilience Classroom Activity -


Posted in: Multimedia

Topics: Stress

It’s Week 3 of our Self-Care for Resilience Classroom Challenge! This week’s activity is to help students Practice Self-Care.

Don’t forget to log your progress here, when complete! You can also e-mail us, if you prefer.

Please note stress support resources at the end of the activity outline – sometimes conversations about stress can bring up other feelings as well.


This week your students should try out the self-care activities they identified last week. Some ideas are below, but part of the activity should include carving out time to practice self-care at home:

  • Assign practicing self-care as homework, followed by written reflections/class discussion
  • In class, try out a meditation together, to model practicing self-care (video/audio suggestion, below)
  • In class, try out self-care activities together, identified by your students (e.g. journaling, drawing, jumping jacks)
  • In class, talk about ways to schedule/barriers to self-care
  • Other ideas you know would work well for your students


Class Discussion/Reflection Prompt Ideas

  • Why practice self-care? As mentioned last week, practicing self-care is one way to build resilience! Making self-care part of your routine – just like brushing your teeth – helps to prevent stress, and gives you tools to help manage stress and feeling overwhelmed in difficult situations.
  • Carve out time for self-care. Until self-care part of your routine, it may be hard to find time. Among everything going on in life, learning to carve out time in your schedule is necessary. If you start now, it will become a habit. For some activities, even 10-15 minutes a day is enough – but they need to be done regularly to make a difference. Think about how your self-care activities might fit into your schedule.
    • How much time will you need to do your self-care?
    • What time of day will be easiest? (e.g. Are you a morning person? A different time on different days?)
    • Are there activities that might get in the way? (e.g. homework, a job, sports) Consider these when deciding what time is best.
    • Prioritize time. You might need to think hard about everything you have going on, and be honest about which things are priorities (self-care should be a priority because it’s important for your health), and which things are not absolutely necessary.
  • Schedule self-care. Once you’ve thought about how to make time for self-care, schedule it!
    • Write it in to your schedule, the same way you might have a schedule in class or at school.
    • Tell family or close friends, if you’re comfortable. If others understand this is important, they will be more supportive of you prioritizing this time. They may also help you stick to your schedule. It also models for others that it’s important to practice self-care – you might inspire someone to do the same!
  • Reflect on your practice. After you’ve had some time to practice self-care activities you identified, think about what worked and what didn’t:
    • Which self-care activities felt best to you? This includes what felt most realistic to keep up over time.
    • Did you notice feeling any different over the past week? If not, keep in mind that sometimes it takes more practice before you start to feel the most benefits.
    • Does the schedule you set need revisions? If it was hard to do regularly, consider different ways to fit it into your schedule.
  • Keep practicing! The Self-Care for Resilience Classroom Challenge is over, but we hope your self-care is not, and that this activity helped you to take the first steps in making it part of your routine. Keep practicing for a healthier mind and less feelings of stress in your life! (Teachers, if you’re so inclined, you can check in with/remind your students about their self-care before summer break.)


Media Resources on Self-Care

6 Minute Mindful Meditation with Dr. Darshan Mehta

Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH is Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Office for Well-Being. He joined the Clay Center podcast to talk about the power of meditation for mental health, and led listeners in a 6-minute meditation. Even just a few minutes can make a difference! Watch or listen, below.

Articles and Apps

  • How to Make Time for Self-Care When You Have None (SHAPE Magazine) These ideas come from successful adults, but many apply to adolescents too! Read more here.
  • Top Apps that Support Positive Mental Health for Children and Teens (All About Speech & Language) The wide range of self-care and mental health apps on this list are for kids ranging from under 5 years old, to 12+, to teens. See the list here.
  • GURL, Here are 10 Free Self-care Apps You Need to Download (2021) (GURL Magazine) Recommended self-care apps for teens (some specific to girls) recommended by a 17-year-old, including what the app’s about and why it’s recommended. See the list here.
  • Apps That Got Me Through School (MGH Clay Center) A millennial shares three mental health and mindfulness apps she used, along with therapy, during college and grad school. Read more here.


Stress Support Resources

Remind your group that if they or someone they know is struggling and needs support, there are resources available. We recommend you be familiar any support resources in your school or organization, but we’ve included additional resources below.

Local Resources

  • Talk: to a trusted adult in their life
  • School/City examples: school guidance counselor, community health center

National Resources

Thanks for visiting the Clay Center. We are entirely funded by visitors like you. We receive no financial support from Massachusetts General Hospital or Harvard Medical School. Your support of our work helps us to continue to produce content on mental health topics that support the emotional well-being of young people everywhere.

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The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital is a free, practical, online educational resource dedicated to prom...