Youth Practice Self-Care Through Journaling After School
YWCA’s Strong Fast Fit program focuses on health and wellness; helping youth learn the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles by eating and exercising well. This includes all areas of health: physical, mental and emotional. As youth grow into their teenage years, they’re faced with many obstacles like negative body image, social media, peer pressure and so forth.
Combating Negative Self-Talk
How do you take care of yourself if you can’t even help yourself? How do you go to someone for help if you have no one to run to?
These are some of the inner thoughts youth in middle school may have – every day feeling somewhat helpless as they grow into their pre-teen and teenage selves. One step Strong Fast Fit youth at Hmong International Academy are taking to combat negative self-talk is processing their thoughts and feelings through journaling. Through private journaling, youth write or share their inner thoughts on paper in a safe, judgment-free space.
Journaling for Reflection and Understanding
With this exercise, we share methods for practicing self-care and self-love. Youth learn how improving inner dialogues can impact their attitude throughout the day.
Writing in their journal is not just an outlet for expression, but also a way for youth to find solutions for their feelings or conflicts. Some of the youth even joke how silly some of their previous entries are when they realized that it wasn’t such a big deal days later!
Breaking Down Negativity & Learning From It
The youth in the program started calling it “The Food and Emotional Journaling” as a way to highlight the importance of both their food and emotional intakes of the day. The youth also realize that instead of focusing on the negatives aspect of things, they should learn how to break down the negativity and turn it into a learning experience.
Through journaling, the youth not only develop their strength in being positive peer role models but also improve their writing skills. They learn to be more patient with each other, comfort one another in their time of sadness and learn how to forgive when they get into conflicts. That forgiveness is a stepping stone that will lead to growth and development as they become young adults.