Looking after your emotional health is as important as looking after your physical health.
Life undoubtedly will throw challenges, changes and sometimes difficult times at you. It is possible to learn how to bounce back and recover from these challenging times. This is known as resilience. Young people who are resilient are more able to build safe, secure relationships, learn, develop and achieve and enjoy life!
Don't worry we are not asking you to be strong, to bottle up how you feel and battle through difficult times. Quite the opposite. We want to help you talk about challenges, take time for yourself and learn some strategies to help you when times are challenging.
Do want to find out more about how you learn to become more resilient? Below are some tops tips and ideas that can help.
It is important for everyone and not just when you are growing up. It is a skill for life. We all need tools to help us find our way through challenging times and to manage our difficult emotions. The COVID pandemic has really highlighted this need.
Resilience means being able to learn and to recover from difficult times and to adapt at times when we face challenges. As you grow up and go through your teenage years and become an adult then you will experience many changes and challenges. This is normal. Adolescence is a a time of intense physical and emotional development and many life changes and challenges happen. Your body is changing, you will change school, take exams, make new friends, loss some friends, you will be thinking about next steps…do you go to university, start an apprenticeship, get a job…
Resilience sometimes get a bad name because it is sometimes misunderstood. Resilience is not about being strong, keeping quiet and putting up with a potentially harmful situation. It is important that you can ask for help, talk about your feelings and trust someone that you can work through problems and find solutions.
We know that a young person or an adults chance of becoming very stressed, and it leading to anxiety or depression is a combination of nature and nurture. That means that how we react to situations is effected by what is passed on in our genes, how our parents, carers, family, friends deal with stresses and the circumstances that we experience in our life.
The good news is that skills to improve your resilience can be learnt. Resilience is not just learnt in one lesson so you need to be patient and be kind to yourself. Resilience is better thought of in the same way as any other skill and developed over time.
Good emotional health and “feeling good” is an important part of our overall health and it helps us to enjoy the good things in life and to cope with more challenging times. We know that to stay healthy we need to be active and eat well. Likewise, there are things we can do every day to take care of our emotional health. The ‘Think, Time, Talk’ resource will show you how you can use the ‘Five Ways To Wellbeing’ to support your emotional health
Five ways to wellbeing was developed as an easy way to bring together all the things that we know help our welbeing. It provides us with five actions that we can include in our everyday life that will help us feel better, function better and keep physically healthy.
Being around people that are important to a you and developing healthy relationships with friends, with peers and with adults.
This is wider than exercising. Anything that keeps you to keep on the move. Walking the dog, running around with friends, playing sports, dancing.
Probably the trickiest of the five ways because we tend to have busy lives and rush around. However, slow down and take time to look around and be aware of surroundings and how they make you feel.
Just trying something new. I does not have to be something that a you excel at. Focus on trying out something that brings enjoyment, fun and is relaxing
Doing something for someone else has been shown to release feel good hormones. It does not have to be anything big. Exchanging a smile and saying hello, perhaps volunteering in the local community or helping a friend out.
In Walsall young people designed a poster to help others remember the five ways to wellbeing. Our Hannah 5 Ways to Wellbeing doll links each of the five ways to parts of our body.
We have thoughts that run through our head all of the time. We often do not notice these. The ones that we do notice often tend to be the ones that are unhelpful. Perhaps a you hear yourself saying “I am no good at maths. I failed that test” or “I rubbish at football. I can not run fast enough”. When you listen to their unhelpful thoughts and ignores more helpful ones then it can have an affect on how you feel about yourself. It is important when a you hears a unhelpful thought you check it out and to see if it is true. Ask yourself “is that thought really true?” or “does that really matter?” You need to be a bit like a detective and search for clues that disprove your unhelpful thought.
There are other things that young people (and adults) can do to pause the unhelpful thoughts and to focus on more helpful thinking. It takes practice! Check out the resource Think, Time Talk. It can be a tricky skill to learn. You can listen to one of our School Nurses, Jo talking about the Think, Time, Talk resource and explaining some of the strategies in more detail
You, like adults have to remember that you can not be good at everything. They have to learn to be kind to yourself:
We have all had a little bit more time to spare during the pandemic. Did you learn anything from taking time to slow down? Did we do activities that we enjoy? Did you stop and look around ‘take notice’? These are all things that can help improve wellbeing and can help you relax and de-stress. Now life is returning to “normal” it is important for you to take time out to do the things that make you feel happy and relaxed.
‘It is good to talk’. Talking helps you ‘connect’ with others. That might be with friends, family or other people who are significant to their lives. When you have safe and secure relationships it can help you to feel a sense of belonging and of purpose. This boosts self esteem and confidence. It is also important that you have someone that you can talk to when you are feeling worried or sad. Some young people prefer to talk to someone that they know and trust, some will prefer to gain support on line and with someone that they do not know. The important thing is that you can talk to someone. Below are some details of safe sources of help.
Kooth.com is an online counselling service especially for young people. It is funded by Walsall NHS and so you know it is a safe service for you use.
Teen Chathealth is a confidential text service that is run by Walsall School Nursing service. The ChatHealth number is 07480 635363 and is open weekdays between 9am and 5pm. Texts can be sent at anytime and a nurse will text back during the opening hours. You do not need to give us your name so you can remain anonymous. Don’t worry, there is no such thing as a stupid question. We are here to listen and to explore how we might be able to help and support you.
Health for Teens is a website that is run by the NHS and provides lots of information about emotional and physical health. Young people helped design the website and so it should be right up your street!
The Think, Time, Talk resource has an a section for a you to write down your wellbeing plan. We know that at the times that we are really stressed then we often can not think straight or very rationally. . So, if a you can develop a support plan at a time when you are feeling ok then you have something to look at if you feel worried or stressed or sad. This can help you to feel more prepared and more in control.
That is ok. We all need some extra help at sometime or other. There are lots of adults who can listen to you and to help you find some solutions. It might be a teacher, a youth worker, a faith leader or your parent or other family member. You can always talk to a School Nurse. You can text us on our ChatHealth number is 07480 635363. We know that contacting someone for the first time can feel scary so you can find out more about who School Nurses are and what we do by watching this video.