4 circles of self-care: a instrument to assist college students make psychological well being a every day observe


College counselor Catherine Livingston has had the identical bulletin board in her workplace for 5 years. It reveals 4 overlapping, in another way coloured circles. Every circle comprises a phrase representing one dimension of wellness: bodily, religious, emotional or psychological. “We must be caring for these 4 circles with a purpose to be okay,” Livingston mentioned on the American College Counselors Affiliation nationwide convention in July.

The 4 circles on show in her workplace are bordered by giant, curving letters that learn, “TRY THIS” and “ASK ME HOW.” College students do ask, she mentioned. “They arrive in, they could be speaking about their grades they usually look and go, ‘What’s that about?’” That query begins a dialog about self-care practices that comes out of pupil curiosity, fairly than a lecture. Livingston, who’s the 2022 Michigan School Counselor of the Year, described the 4 circles of self-care and gave examples:

  • Bodily – any form of physique movement, equivalent to stretching, strolling, dancing, sports activities and lively video games
  • Emotional – methods of expressing feelings, equivalent to journaling, artwork and music
  • Psychological – actions that problem your mind, equivalent to crossword puzzles and math issues
  • Religious – actions that create college students a larger objective and worthiness, equivalent to neighborhood service, mentoring or participation in religion communities

The visible mannequin of the four circles of self care comes from Know Resolve, a nonprofit centered on youth suicide prevention. Adolescent psychological well being crises, together with nervousness, melancholy and self-harm, have been on the rise for more than a decade, and the coronavirus pandemic has solely worsened the trend. Whether or not or not they’ve a medical prognosis, Livingston mentioned all youngsters have to develop expertise for dealing with stress, however the previous three years have made clear that many haven’t. When speaking with college students about self-care, Livingston encourages them to jot down down three issues they take pleasure in that match into every circle and to try considered one of every every day. She mentioned college students typically haven’t thought of these actions in relation to wellness, “However whenever you deliver it to their consideration that that is what’s taking place, they are going to proceed to do it day-after-day.”

Livingston mentioned that many wellness practices are already taking place in school rooms. For instance, some English academics at Utica Neighborhood Colleges, the place she works, assign college students to jot down in journals. They’ve seen college students proceed to write in them daily, despite the fact that that’s not the requirement. Livingston mentioned she’d wish to see the wellness-related advantages of such actions spelled out extra straight for college kids. “We have to inform them it’s vital.”

The 4 circles are a easy mannequin that academics can level to for such explanations, and it might turn out to be a part of the classroom or college vernacular. For instance, one well being trainer at Livingston’s college has a poster of the 4 circles that college students tag with sticky observe examples. They’ll additionally take sticky notes off of the poster in the event that they see one thing they need to strive. Livingston mentioned that by permitting all college students to contribute and trade concepts, this train itself generally is a enhance to religious well being.

Self-care practices poster
Livingston’s college has additionally hosted actions the place college students establish self-care practices on a banner that hangs in a visual space. (Courtesy of Catherine Livingston)

As college students start to observe actions in all 4 circles, “You are going to see a distinction of their grades, a distinction of their attendance, and undoubtedly a distinction of their conduct,” Livingston mentioned. She suggested counselors and academics to not anticipate sudden, radical transformation however to rejoice small successes, equivalent to a pupil attending to class on time extra typically than the earlier month.


Our names are Fareedah and Kamilah Amoo. We are seven and five year’s old sisters and live in Ontario, Canada, with our parents and little brother, Awad. We love writing stories, painting on canva, coding, reading books, and enjoying arts and crafts. Our goal is to motivate every child worldwide to read more books.

Related Posts



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Recent Stories