Self Love Challenge Overview & Journal Prompts for High School Students
Many adults look back on high school fondly as a simple time filled with fun, friends, and few responsibilities. However, it’s important for parents and educators to remember that the experience of living through high school is not always quite as rosy as we are apt to remember it.
Indeed, high school can be a scary and challenging time for teens as they struggle to carve out their identities, deal with hormones and changing brains, and face mounting pressures from both the peers and adults in their lives. It’s a tough period of life, and many teens need help navigating their way through this challenge.
One of the best ways to help high-schoolers flourish is to help them establish a healthy sense of self love. For teens who may be struggling with anxiety or depression or for those who could simply use a confidence boost, self love can have a significant impact on mental health.
What Exactly is Self Love?
According to this powerful resource from Psychology Today, there are four main components of self love:
- Self-awareness: the ability to understand and analyze our own thoughts, actions, and emotions.
- Self-worth: the beliefs and ideas we hold about ourselves—and the sense that we have value regardless of our flaws.
- Self-esteem: our own interpretations and assessments of our actions and traits—and the value judgments we place on them.
- Self-care: actions and rituals we undertake to keep ourselves healthy and to care for ourselves.
Self Love Journaling Challenge for Teens
With these important components in mind, we’ve developed a self love challenge to use with teens. The Internet is full of tips on improving teens’ self-esteem and tips on practicing self-care, but this approach is unique in that it takes a holistic path to improvement.
Naturally, our self love challenge focuses primarily on journaling. Here’s why:
Journaling gives teens a place to evaluate themselves, their problems, and their feelings. Over time, the journal becomes a collection of the student’s past thoughts and experiences that he or she can reflect upon.
Later, the teen can use this collection of personal information as a resource to evaluate growth and as an inspiration to tackle new challenges. We become inspired when we can visually see where we have been and how we have successfully handled life events in the past, and this inspiration can help to raise our self-esteem and confidence moving forward.
Furthermore, a journal also serves as a safe space for teens to externalize their problems and questions in a constructive way. Though many teens feel uncomfortable talking about their emotions and their lives for fear of judgment or punishment, journaling allows students to sort through their feelings privately. In a journal, a teen can say anything he or she wishes—and know that no one else will ever see it.
To get started, we recommend first taking some time to teach your students about self love and the ways in which having a positive self image contributes to overall health and happiness. Ask students about their own self-care routines and help them understand the differences between self-worth and self-esteem.
Once they are equipped with the basic language of self love, it’s time to begin journaling! Help students set aside some time each day (we recommend around 30 minutes) to write and reflect on the following journal prompts.
To participate in the self love challenge, ask your students to tackle a different prompt each day for the following month. At the end of the challenge, each student should write a final journal entry reflecting on their experiences and growth in self-awareness—and then participate in a class discussion on what they learned about self love.
We hope that your teens will benefit and grow from this exercise… and that they will enjoy it so much that they keep journaling and practicing their own self love challenges for years to come!
Self Love Challenge Writing Prompts
- Write about one thing you are especially good at—and one area that you could improve in.
- What are some of your favorite innate qualities about yourself?
- Name one physical feature that you particularly love in yourself and explain why it is special to you.
- What are some things that make you feel sad or anxious? How can you recognize triggers for these feelings before they become too bad?
- Write about a time when you made the right decision, even though you weren’t sure at first what you should do.
- What kinds of things do you do to care for yourself each day? Which of these practices are simply habits—and which of them are conscious forms of self-care?
- Make a list of things that bring you joy. Include people, places, and things…and remember that no item is too small if it brings you happiness!
- Write about a time when you did something that hurt another person. What happened? Were your actions intentional? How did you respond when you realized you had caused the other person pain?
- Do you have any regrets? Why or why not?
- Write about a time when you were proud of yourself. What did you do? Was it a hard decision to make? How do you feel when you look back on this moment today?
- What does it mean to have a positive sense of self-worth? Do you feel as though you have one? Why or why not?
- What is your greatest flaw? Is it something you could work to improve? Why or why not?
- How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Describe what you see—and how that makes you feel.
- Do you ever struggle to share your emotions and feelings with other people? Why or why not?
- Write about something that always relaxes you or puts you at ease.
- Can eating healthily be considered a form of self-care? Why or why not?
- Do you ever struggle with negative self-talk? What are some good ways to avoid this detrimental behavior?
- What is the most effective strategy you have for making yourself feel better when you’ve had a bad day? How well does it work?
- Do you think other people your age are good at practicing self-care? Why or why not?
- Write about a way that you have grown positively in the last few years.
- Do you believe you are an effective communicator? Why or why not?
- Write about something that makes you angry. Why do you think it triggers such a strong negative response in you?
- Are you good at admitting when you are wrong about something? Do you think your friends and family members would agree with your assessment? Why or why not?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank your personal self-esteem levels? Why? Is there anything you could do to improve your self-esteem?
- Write about something you can do that is unique to you.
- What would a positive self-care routine for you look like? Is this something you can implement into your life more regularly?
- What are some of the greatest pressures you face? Are these internal or external pressures? What can you do to address them?
- Do you ever struggle to set boundaries in your life? Why or why not?
- Do you believe your life is valuable on its own, or do you sometimes feel as though you need to justify your existence? Why or why not?
- How can having a positive self-image improve your overall health and wellness?
- What are some things that other people do that make you feel good about yourself (such as giving you compliments or inviting you to hang out)? Why do you think these things have a positive impact on your self-esteem?