Student Authors: Margaret Irwin, Katie Kester, and Allison Fialkowski (Harvard Medical School)
Jennifer Pitt-Lainsbury, High School and Middle School Administrator, University of Toronto Schools
Donna Fialkowski, M.Ed., Special Education Teacher, Atlanta City Public School System
Juliana H. Chen, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Newton-Wellesley Hospital
Rachel Conrad, M.D. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Student Reviewers: Mengting Qiu, Chandler Moore, Rachel Reardon (Harvard Medical School), Toke Odimayomi (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
During this time of uncertainty, we need resilience, or the ability to recover from difficulties. This summer, you will begin the Tournament of the Summer - a challenge to invest in yourselves to develop resilience. Pick one challenge a day. When you complete the daily challenge, give yourself a point. If you forget to do a challenge one day, don’t worry- just pick a challenge the next day. Compete against friends, family, or just try to see how many tasks you can complete. When you earn 14 points, give yourself a reward!
Step One: Pick a reward.
My reward for winning 14 points is ___________________________
Ideas for rewards: Picking dinner out for the family that night, having a movie day, or buying yourself a present you have been saving up for. If you can’t think of a reward, try asking your parent/guardian to see if they may be able to think of something.
Step two: Pick a different challenge each day.
Domains of Care:
Personal Self Care:
1 point: Spend some time off social media (30 minutes).
Spend time without social media, off of your phone, and away from friends or family.
You can read, take a walk, or sit outside--just take some time for yourself.
Want to learn more about why being alone may be helpful? Click here: https://www.thecut.com/2018/01/how-to-be-better-at-spending-time-alone.html
1 point: Find a “junk drawer” in your house or a messy closet, and clean it out. You could also organize the photos on your phone or files on your computer. If you can’t think of a space, try asking a parent/guardian if they have an idea in mind. This may be a small space, but starting a task like this and then finishing it will mean that you have completed something that is pretty difficult in one day - that’s pretty cool!
Need some inspiration? Try Marie Kondo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEgEqph_Km8
Physical Self Care:
1 point: Get enough sleep, but wake up at a reasonable time.
Today: pick a bed time, and stick to it. Put your phone away from your bed, and set an alarm to make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep. Set your bedtime for tonight as a time that will allow you to get up early and enjoy the next morning.
Sleeping can be hard when your routine has changed so much. One app that may help is the app “Calm,” which has sleep stories and meditation that are available for free: https://www.calm.com/
If you want to get better at tracking your sleep, here are some apps that may help: https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-treatments/sleep-apps/
1 point: For a whole day, make half of your plate fruits and/or vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables can often be expensive, but canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are more affordable and can be just as yummy. Plan this challenge ahead of time with your family to be ready to have a healthy day!
For more ideas of inexpensive and healthy food options: https://www.halfyourplate.ca/
1 point: Set a SMART goal to improve your physical activity or self care. SMART goals (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA53yhiOe04) are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Specific. Post the goal somewhere that you see regularly, like your fridge or the door to your bedroom, and try working towards that goal.
Here are some examples:
In order to take better care of my teeth and avoid having a cavity, I will floss my teeth at least five nights a week at night before I go to bed for the next two weeks starting tonight.
To make sure I keep my body healthy, I will go on a walk for fifteen minutes a day after lunch everyday for one week starting this Sunday. My mom wants to stay healthy too, so we can do this goal together.
Here is a worksheet to get you started: https://www.mcckc.edu/counseling/goal-setting/docs/SMARTGoalWorksheet.pdf
Emotional Self Care:
1 point: Positive self talk. You are an incredible person with so many talents and great traits. Today, write a list of ten things that you like about yourself, such as how kind you are to your siblings or how good you are at video games. Put this list somewhere safe, so that you can remind yourself of all the ways you are special when you are feeling down.
Psychological Self Care:
1 point: Journal. You are living through an important moment in history right now. Write one page about your daily life and the emotions you are feeling during this time. You may want to look back at this time and reflect on this when you are older, so try to keep this somewhere special.
1 point: “Happiness” list. It is so important to know what makes you happy. Make a list of five simple, inexpensive things that make you happy. Do you feel happy when you curl up in a chair and read? Or when you play videogames with your sibling or friend virtually? Or make a pot of tea for yourself and a family member? Save your list so that when you are feeling down, you can pick an item that may lift up your mood. Do not forget to add the people who you can talk to or call and who make you feel happy, such as relatives or friends!
Spiritual Self Care
1 point: Practice mindfulness. There is no one best way to practice mindfulness. Some people practice mindfulness when they are mindful of their body during yoga. Other people practice mindfulness when they savor a meal and slowly enjoy each bite of food. Pick one way that you would like to be more mindful, and try it out- then give yourself a point for it.
Here are some more ideas of how to practice mindfulness: https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-exercises-techniques-activities/
The app “Calm” also is helpful to practice mindfulness: https://www.calm.com
Academic Self Care:
1 point: If you were able to travel anywhere in the world right now where would you go? Plan your perfect trip to a country you have never been to and try to learn as much as you can about it for twenty minutes. You can use videos, the computer, your phone, or a book around your house. You can even learn about a country by asking a family member or friend who has traveled there. Then tell a family member or friend about what you learned.
1 point: Read something for twenty minutes:
You can read or listen to a book if you have access to one, or you can read an article on the computer or phone. Don’t forget to check out your local library for access to books, ebooks, and articles as well. Below are links to some interesting articles to read!
Care for Others:
1 point: Make a list of classmates who you have not talked to since school let out, but who you liked saying hi to. Text or call one of them to check in and see how they are doing. It is okay if this feels awkward or if they do not reply, but in only one or two minutes, you could brighten their day by just saying “hi!”
1 point: Call a family member who may not have many people visiting as often due to coronavirus (or write a letter!).
1 point: Ask your parent/guardian if you can help with a chore today. When you help your family, you are giving back to your community in a really great way. Thank you for taking care of the people in your life! Below are some suggestions for possible things you can help with (from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/Household-Chores-for-Adolescents.aspx).
1 point: Write a letter or email to a teacher or coach saying how much you appreciate them! If you are writing a letter and do not have a specific address, you can send it to your school, and they will likely be able to give it to the teacher when they go back to school. This person will be so happy to hear from you!