This lesson helps young people understand how finding balance between their values and what they do can help them feel healthier and happier. The youth will complete a Values Circle Chart and compare the most important things to them with how they spend their time.
Before facilitating this lesson, you may want to review the following information. This can be shared with young people during your discussions.
What are values? Why are they important? Why is it important for us to be clear about our own values?
A lot of people talk about “finding balance” in life. For adults, it’s usually work-life balance. For kids, it usually means having a good mix of school, activities, time with friends and family, and time to just relax.
What sometimes gets missed in this conversation is talking about values. Values are really the foundation for how we can find balance in life. If we know what’s important to us and make decisions about how to spend our time based on that we’ll be more likely to feel at ease, successful, happy, and well. Most would agree feeling healthy or positive is better than feeling unhealthy or negative. This is true for people of all ages.
Another way to say this is that life balance does not mean equality, it means knowing what’s most important to you and doing the best you can to reflect that in how you live your life.
Ask the young people if they have ever been caught between two things that felt really important to them. See if there are a few volunteers willing to share examples.
Explain that every day we have to make choices. Sometimes decisions are really clear and we know right away what we want to do. Other times we are conflicted between two or more good things, not a bad thing and a good thing. These are conflicting values. We are dealing with these all of time, often without us even realizing it, such as when we decide between a sweet treat we really love and something that we know would be healthier for us.
On a larger scale if, for example, participating in a sport I really love means I don’t get to do the after-school club that my two best friends are in, how do I make that decision and feel good about it, not make a decision and feel guilt or regret?
The answer for how to make decisions we feel good about all the time is to become more aware of our own values.
Distribute the Values Circle Chart worksheets and explain how they will use them. The instructions are provided on the worksheet.
Offer examples of common important values: family, exercise, health or career. Point out that more often than not people don’t ever show up themselves on the list.
Then explain to them that they should identify how much time they actually spend on these. Debrief using the following questions:
We can feel happier and healthier if we choose to spend our time in ways that are more in line with our values. Remind the youth to think of the important things they wrote on their charts as they decide how to spend their time over the next few days. Suggest that young people hang their Circle Chart somewhere they can see it each day to remind them of their most important values.
Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, which also includes these tips, so that families can continue discussing goal setting based on their values at home.
Knowing what matters can help you destress