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Self Esteem Activities in Recovery

Regardless of whether you are recovering from a serious physical or mental illness that has knocked down your self esteem, there are many ways to regain it.

Some are simple activities that may make you cringe, but they do help — especially with the support of those around you. One thing to realize is that we all have our foibles, and from them we learn important life lessons.


Focus on the Good

Although there are many good things that happen to us in our lives, we often focus on the bad. This activity gets participants to focus on the good things in life — even the small things. Get a piece of paper and write down five good things that happened to you today.

Even if it is just: A stranger smiled at me. Keep doing this every day and post it on your bedroom door or somewhere you will always see it. This will help you feel better when you are down about something.


Activities in Recovery



This is an idea that should get your creativity flowing. Start by going through magazines and picking out pictures or words that best describe you. Photographs would be even better, ones that depict your favorite and happiest memories.

Express the things that you like through pictures, pasting them on one page. Gather together some paper, scissors, glue, magazines, colored pens — anything you want. Then decorate the page with colored pens or even glitter. Make it as colorful as possible. This project also can be done digitally without the mess of glue and glitter with the proper software. Once you have completed your masterpiece, hang it up somewhere in the house. It acts as a constant reminder of all the things you like about your life and, most importantly, yourself.



This is ideal for a group of people who suffer from low self esteem. For this activity, you need a brightly colored piece of paper that you fold into thirds, like a tri-fold brochure. You then decorate the front of the brochure with your name.

Make it large and colorful, something you’d enjoy. Next, select a group of categories, such as: my best feature, my proudest moment or things I’m good at. Come up with five to 10 categories, and then write them all down on the inside of the brochure. Then, fill in each category.

When you are done, fold up the brochure and paper clip it shut. The best thing about this activity is the next part: Pass your brochure to your neighbor. Rather than reading what is inside, they write something on the brochure that they admire about you. If you don’t know each other, comment on something observable, such as the person’s dress sense, friendliness or politeness. By the end of the activity, you will have a lovely reminder of many positive things about yourself.


Top Five

The Top Five list can focus on any aspect of things that you are self-conscious about. Write down five ways of how far you have already come in tackling your self-consciousness. You also can focus on your top five strengths or the top five things you like about yourself.

Once you have written the list, post it where you will be able to see it. By the end of the process, you should realize that there are actually a lot of great things about yourself.


Who Am I?

This is another self-esteem activity that is ideal for large groups of people. You start by laying down on a large piece of paper equal to the size of your body and then having others trace your shape.

You then write your name on the traced outline and also what you like the most about yourself. If you are in a large group of people, everyone then goes around to each traced body and writes a positive attribute about the person. Alternatively, if you have self-esteem issues with your body, participants could write down your best physical feature. This acts as a reminder that what you see in the mirror is not what everyone else sees.


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