May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to not only increase the conversation around mental health in general, but also to pause and check in with ourselves and our own well-being. The American Psychology Association states that women are more likely than men to report having a great deal of stress, which can have a negative impact on both our mental and physical health.

The Global G.L.O.W. curriculum includes several activities that help combat stress that girls feel in their daily lives. Try or share some of these activities next time you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed:

Relaxation Activity

What to do:

  • Start by taking a deep breath and placing your feet flat on the floor. Really feel your feet in contact with the ground underneath you.
  • Now place your hands on your stomach and take 2-3 breaths, noticing your stomach rising and falling with each in and out breath.
  • When you feel comfortable close your eyes.
  • As you keep breathing deeply into your stomach, breathe in for a count of five, then hold your breath for a count of three, and breathe out slowly for a count of five. And keep breathing in for five, hold for three out of five.
  • Now, slowly bring your attention back to the room, noticing the sounds around you and begin to open your eyes.

Share the Love’ Goodie Bags

What to do:

  • Get a group together and create goodie bags. Start by decorating the outside of your bag with hopes and dreams for your future.
  • Once you are done decorating your goodie bags, have everyone spread their bags out evenly around the room.
  • Ask each participant to take turns rotating from bag to bag, pausing at each bag to think about the person it belongs to.
  • Have everyone take out a small piece of paper and write down one thing they admire and appreciate about the person’s bag they are looking at and pop it into that bag.
  • Once everyone has had a chance to rotate and put affirmations in each other’s goodie bag, quietly read the affirmations you received to yourself.

Intention Setting Practice

What to do:

Every month, girls in our programming set a new intention or goal to practice being intentional or thoughtful in their actions and behavior. Girls record their intentions in their journals each month and check in with a partner over the next few weeks for support and to talk about their progress. Try incorporating an intention setting practice like this into your own life, and have someone help hold you accountable.

Note: Journaling in general can be a really effective form of stress relief. Even if you don’t set intentions, take some time each day to write down your thoughts, the things you are grateful for, or the things that are causing stress in your life.

Encouragement Letter

What to do:

If we are kind to ourselves and grateful for who we are, we are better equipped to be kind and generous to others. So, take the time to write yourself a love letter or thank you note. Write at least three paragraphs.