A big hug for tough times

This exercise will support you to:

  • Take a break
  • Work out what you need more (or less) of
  • Feel good

It’ll take about 15 minutes to complete.


To start, make yourself comfortable

  • From here on, be as kind to yourself as you can
  • Grab a pen and some paper to write on
  • Pick a favourite (portable : ) object from your home to take with you
  • Choose a comfortable and quiet place to sit down and write
  • Make yourself really comfortable – are you warm enough, is the light right?
  • Make yourself even more comfortable, do something extra to make yourself feel really good in this place

Check in

  • Take a moment to describe today’s weather: What does the sky look like? What’s the temperature? Is this your kind of weather?
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, close your eyes and slowly draw your attention to the parts of your body that stand out to you – how do they feel?
  • How are you feeling today? Note down a few words that sum this up if you can
  • What are you finding hard in your life at the moment? (Write down anything, near or far, that comes to mind)
  • Of the things you are finding hard, what impact is this having on you at the moment? How is it leaving you feeling?

Your needs first

  • Taking into account your situation, what do you need more of in your life at the moment? 
  • Is there anything you feel you may need less of?
  • Build on this by reflecting on this list of some different types of needs*. Which of these are you most in need of at the moment? Write down those that resonate:
    • Connection: belonging, understanding, safety, love, conversation
    • Joy: entertainment, laughter, a new hobby, new experiences, music
    • Meaning: awareness, learning, growth, purpose
    • Physical: movement, sleep, touch, intimacy, food, rest
    • Relief: silence, shouting, therapy, time out, support
    • Autonomy: space, freedom, choice, flexibility, independence
  • Choose one of these you feel you are most in need of at the moment and write this down in the middle of your page
  • Write around this all the things you could do more of, or start doing, in your life to contribute to this need being met either a bit of a lot (circumstances may mean you can’t do everything you’d like, but try and thing of new or different ideas to meet your need)
  • Of the things you have come up with, circle the three which would be the easiest make happen
  • Be kind to yourself and choose one of these things to do in the days ahead
  • Make a bit of a plan – what will you do next to make this thing happen?

Reflect to finish

  • Looking back over your answers, are you surprised by anything that has come up?
  • Is anything that has come up reassuring? Or leading you to worry?
  • Acknowledge any new feelings that are coming up
  • Greet these feelings with a deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • If you can, place one hand on your heart and the other on the page you are writing on
  • Say to yourself quietly: “I am going to be okay”, and raise a smile, if you can : )
  • And you’re done. Good job. Pop your piece of paper somewhere safe, recycle it or burn it up – whatever feels right for you
  • If you can, take a bit of time out now to let what you’ve been reflecting on settle