Self-Care and Stress Management

Unhealthy levels of stress seem to have become the norm in everyday life, for both adults and young people alike. No matter our role – parent, teacher, youth worker, grandparent, pediatrician – we all want young people to thrive and find healthy ways of preventing and coping with stress. One way to do this is to help them incorporate self-care activities into their daily lives – just like brushing their teeth. The earlier they begin, the easier to maintain. It’s a great way to help young people develop resilience skills to last a lifetime.

Need ideas on where to start? From advice from our docs, to inspiration from real people in the news, to voices directly from young people, we hope our resources provide you with self-care motivation to support the young people in your life!

Listen to our podcast episode on self-care:

Search for ‘Shrinking It Down’ wherever you get your podcasts.

Ideas From Middle School Students

Also, watch what Gene has to say about helping middle schoolers with self-care.

Ideas From High School Students

Also, watch what Gene has to say about encouraging self-care in high schoolers, and what Steve has to say about helping teens with too many activities de-stress.

Self-Care Activity Toolkit

As a companion resource to our student self-care videos, we created a PDF toolkit to help teachers, counselors, youth workers, and other educators to use the videos, or still images, in classrooms and other group settings.

Advice From Our Docs

Ellen on Moms modeling self-care for their kids:

Steve on Dads modeling self-care for their kids:

Gene on introducing the idea of self-care to younger kids:

Ellen on things that get in the way of self-care:

Inspiration In The News

Erin Castillo in her classroom

Erin Castillo in her classroom

This teacher created a mental health check-in chart for her students and now teachers around the world are doing the same. A teacher has come up with a clever idea to ensure her students have a safe place to share their feelings. Erin Castillo, an educator at John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont, California, created a mental health check-in chart for her students. Now, she’s inspiring teachers around the globe to make their own versions of the chart for their classrooms. Read or watch for more.


Four young students sitting side by side on mats

Girls meditating (Holistic Life Foundation)

Elementary School Swaps Detention Period for Meditation, and the Results Are Stunning. Today, mindfulness advocates are bringing some of these ancient techniques into schools in America. Some are dealing with student misbehavior by adopting such approaches rather than sending them to stand in the hall. Read more.


Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez Talks Therapy As More Celebrities Open Up About Mental Health. Sometimes therapy is an important part of self-care. Selena Gomez has opened up about therapy in a new interview, joining other celebrities willing to share their mental health struggles with fans. Read more.


Three young school children standing on lawn

Kids on the way to school

Now children aged FOUR will get mental health lessons to learn how to beat depression, practise ‘self-care’ and stay safe on social media. Lessons aim to stress the importance of ‘self care’ and ‘mental wellbeing.’ Youngsters will be taught how to ward off stress and anxiety by getting enough sleep, spending time outdoors, exercising, eating healthily and playing with friends off-line. Read more.

Sample sensory corner in a classroom

Sample Sensory Corner

Students learning to self-regulate and de-stress with school sensory corners. To help give kids a place to self-regulate, classrooms have set up sensory corners. These areas were designed by students with items that help clear their minds and relax them. Any student can go into the sensory area to help them cope with a variety of stressors. Read or watch for more.


Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande Shares Essential Message About Self-Care With Fans: Don’t Run Yourself Into the Ground. Singer Ariana Grande has shared an important message about self-care with her fans, imploring them to look after their mental health. Read more.


Clay Center Team Self-Care

Here at the Clay Center, we don’t just preach self-care, we practice it ourselves! For a little extra inspiration, each member of our team created a 40-second video to share what they do for self-care and why. Take a look.

Gene, our executive director

Deedee, our managing director

Ellen, our co-director

Steve, our co-director

Elisa, our visiting artist for civic media

Matt, our research assistant

Sara, our communications director

If you have other self-care ideas or content you’d like to see, we’d love to know about them. Write to us! Put “Self-Care” in the subject line.