Before you read this module, take a moment to reflect on the living skills you have used so far today. From waking up in a home you are diligently saving to pay off, or an apartment you rent from the owners.

Perhaps you made a simple breakfast, from foods you know will give you energy as well as protein and vitamins. You will have brushed your teeth, even flossed knowing the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene.

Getting dressed you may have chosen cotton clothes knowing they are healthy for the skin, perhaps you smoothed on a layer of sunscreen or gave your back a quick stretch before heading for work. You may have packed a lunch to avoid buying expensive takeaway or done a quick online search for a local yoga class, heading towards the stressful time of year it would be nice to take that up again.

Now ask yourself where you learnt all these living skills? And what motivates you to keep them up?

Living Skills are an individual’s ability to ensure their healthy and sustainable functioning. Whether these practical actions involve securing food or booking a yoga retreat, underpinning the need for practical action is the idea of ‘mindfulness’, or first simply ‘noticing’ the need exists.

It is important to note that human beings are wired to be responsive to their own needs. We flinch away from something too hot and our tummies grumble with hunger. But what is the point of taking notice of an empty belly if you cannot fill it? Young people repeatedly exposed to situations where their needs are not met however may ‘turn off’ this natural state of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘noticing.’

This module is an exploration of mindfulness guided self-care strategies and how to support a young person to notice their own needs and adequately care for themself.

(Insert diagram of circles radiating outwards. Need ie: food, cues ie: noticing belly grumbling, lightheadedness, decide on practical action (get food), be resourced for practical action (nave access to a pantry)

The individual areas of self-care which are included in this module are:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Money management / budgeting
  • Health-seeking behaviours (preventative & health-literacy)

No one willfully sets out to neglect their own needs, but we see from our own profession that humans do face barriers to self-care. The ongoing work of self-care is part of the greater body of work that is valuing the self. Grief and pain of past neglect may surface in the experiencing of needs being noticed and met. For people with very established patterns of self-neglect, it may be necessary to work with them on their underlying schemas and unhelpful beliefs which may be making it more difficult to develop skills in self-care and sustain the necessary behaviours, which is addressed in the final aspect.