Using these tips to help you feel better is sometimes known as “self-care”.
It is really important to stay connected with what is most important to you. This might mean creating a ‘memory box’ of pictures, stories and objects to help you keep a connection to happy periods in your life. You might want to write letters or keep a diary.
Faith is important for many young people and joining a local place of worship or talking to teachers in school about where you can go to pray is an important way of looking after your spiritual well-being. These may be useful resources covering mental health linked to many religions. Click here for more information on Faith and belief communities.
This is a helpful coping strategy which can help you focus your attention on the here-and-now, connect you with your immediate surroundings, notice how you are feeling and help you to feel more in control. It is a simple, effective exercise but does need regular practice. Click here to watch a brief mindful breathing exercise video.
Other tips for practising mindfulness include:
- Take a ‘mindful walk’- give yourself a break from your worries and thoughts for ten minutes and allow yourself to just observe what you can see, hear, smell and feel as you walk. Concentrate on the sound of your footsteps, the touch of the wind on your face, the colours of the leaves on the trees.
- Be more mindful when doing something you do every day, such as eating. Really notice the movements in your mouth as you chew, the taste and textures as well as the flavours.
- Make a small change to your day and notice how it feels, for example, walking a slightly different route to your school or college.
- Try mindful colouring- you can ‘doodle’ a pattern and shade these in with your pencil or pen.
These are helpful ways of feeling more in control if you feel over-whelmed, disconnected or are experiencing flashbacks or distressing memories. Some ways of grounding yourself are:
- Naming things you can see around you: try and name everything you can see that is your favourite colour or objects which begin with a certain letter.
- Whilst breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, start to notice your surroundings. Find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 emotion you can feel. Click here for a video guide.
Distraction activities can be a helpful way of giving you a break from your distress if you are feeling stuck and overwhelmed. For example, you can try and think of an animal for every letter of the alphabet or try to do your times-tables backwards. This will occupy your brain for a brief while which can sometimes be enough to start feeling more in control. You can make this fun, for example playing a game of ‘would you rather..’ with a friend.
These strategies are really helpful ways of calming your distress and are good to practice even when you are feeling calm. Click here to learn some simple breathing exercises here. You might also have an activity that you find relaxing such as art or listening to music. It can be helpful to make playlists of your favourite songs, including happy, comforting music to listen to when you are feeling down or a mix of music you find inspiring when you are feeling challenged. Asking other people you know for suggestions can be a helpful way of building new connections. Singing and dancing to music can release endorphins – hormones which are great for our well-being. Click here for more relaxation exercises.
Find help in your local area
Find help in your local area
Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.