The power of reflection and gratitude

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted young people in a variety of ways – from causing feelings of stress, fear and uncertainty, to disrupting their social lives, school engagement, employment and regular routines.

While we’ve come a long way since the height of the pandemic, it can be healthy for students to reflect on the challenges they have faced and to continue to build strategies to maintain their mental health and wellbeing. This lesson encourages students to identify challenges, discuss strategies that have helped them to manage or overcome these, and write strength-based reflection letters about their experiences.

Year Level



60 minutes


  • In class activity
  • Take-away activity

SEL Competencies

  • Self-management

Learning Intention

Students can feel a sense of empowerment, self-efficacy and hope for the future by writing a strength-based reflection letter to themselves or to someone they are grateful for.

Key Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • reflect on challenges they have faced over the past few years
  • identify practical strategies for managing or overcoming their challenges
  • write a strength-based reflection letter.
Activity 01

Brainswarm activity: Challenges and strategies 10 min

To provide context, acknowledge that the past few years since the COVID-19 pandemic began have been challenging. Explain to students that it can be beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing to reflect on our challenges.

  1. Ask students to think about some of the challenges young people may have faced in recent times. Have them write these down on Post-it notes and place them on a shared space, such as a whiteboard or butcher’s paper.
  2. As a class, students brainstorm strategies they could use for managing or overcoming each of these challenges. If they need help coming up with ideas, they can refer to the ReachOut article, 10 tips for coping with the hard stuff.
  3. If students feel comfortable doing so, ask for volunteers to share some of the challenges they have experienced and how they managed or overcame them.