May 18-24 is Mental Health Awareness Week. This is a great opportunity to explore the importance of self-care.
Astronauts and space travel can be hugely effective (and non-confronting) themes for discussing mental health, wellbeing and mental self-care. Here are two space-themed activities to try this week.
Activity One: Astronaut Workout
Suitable for all ages
Kick off the week with a mini mind and body workout. This activity ends with a mindful breathing exercise – an important reminder that, when you’re facing a big challenge, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.
Activity Two: Astronauts and Isolation
For older students
The job of an astronaut comes with many big challenges – from the physical and psychological pressure of a rocket launch, to dealing with long periods of time away from home (and family) and the stress of physical isolation. Astronauts have a lot to take on and they work hard to manage mental health in space. But what about when they are back on Earth? What then? Space travel is a unique and intense experience and having few people to truly connect with about it can evoke feelings of isolation.
Use this topic and the questions below as conversation starters, research questions or creative writing prompts:
- Why might an astronaut feel isolation when they are back on Earth?
- What other things (other than going into space!) might cause a person to feel mentally isolated?Can you think of other experiences, people or professions?
- Is it possible to experience isolation in the company of others? How? Why?
- What do astronauts do to cope with isolation?
- How do astronauts manage their mental health in space and on Earth?
- With the experience of lockdown, what can you learn from astronauts about dealing with isolation? Are there things you can do to keep a healthy mind?
You can find more free resources to explore during Mental Health Awareness Week here.
Photo credit: ESA/NASA