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How can I improve my mental health? Top 10 tips for young people

  • 1 Stay connected +

    Maintaining relationships with those you trust throughout lockdown gives you the opportunity to feel less isolated.
    We are all going through this together. Communities have become closer in the other lockdowns and we can all support family & friends in different ways. No matter how close or far you live from one another, you can stay in touch a variety of ways. Whether it be by phone, video calls, email or social media, don’t be afraid to ask for support or to offer it to others.

  • 2 Talk about your worries +

    Whatever you are worrying about, it always helps to talk, even though it may not seem like it at the time.
    Getting another’s opinion on a solution or just knowing there are other people out there that perhaps are worrying about the same things that we are can help both yourself & them. If you feel that there is no-one you can talk to in your trusted circle there is plenty of confidential support out there either online or by telephone.

    Need more help finding someone to talk to?

    These are some links to websites with young people in mind. They have different ways of accessing someone to talk to such as text, phone or online chat:

     
     
     
  • 3 Look after your mind & body +

    How we physically feel can affect our mental health. 

    Sometimes we can feel ourselves falling into unhealthy patterns of behaviour as a coping strategy. Eating healthy well balanced meals & drinking plenty of water, along with exercising regularly can really help us to feel better about ourselves. Exercise could be done with the whole household turning it into more of a fun, social activity.

    Need more help planning to be more active?

    This website is good for giving advice on how to get started: https://www.themix.org.uk/your-body/fitness-and-diet/help-i-want-to-get-fit-30208.html

    Check out this website for the charity Mind’s 5 ways to get moving and feel better: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/physical-activity-and-your-mental-health/about-physical-activity/

  • 4 Stay on top of difficult feelings +

    Don’t feel like you have to be happy all the time- It is ok to not be ok!

    Things are tough and you feel that things are out of control. This, in turn, makes you anxious but rather than worrying about what you can’t control, concentrate on areas that you have control over for example who you talk to, what information you choose to take onboard and how you act.

    Need more help managing overwhelming feelings?

    Check out the Young Minds Coronavirus-specific advice here: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/

  • 5 Do things you enjoy +

    Doing things we enjoy can give us a focus on something positive.

    If you are unable to carry out the usual activities or hobby you normally do to relax, then why not think of trying something new such as baking (you could try finding healthy snacks to cook) or even learning something new, like a language, sewing, or getting stuck into arts and crafts. There are lots of different options online you can choose from.

    Perhaps you like the challenge of a quiz for example, why not get in touch with some family and friends and create rounds to test them! This can bring a positive social aspect into your day. 

    Need some ideas?

    Place2Be has some suggestions on how you can get creative:
    https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/sessions

  • 6 Keep routines +

    Routines can help to structure our day & thoughts.
    Although some things may have changed from your regular day, many things such as lessons and meal times are still able to help structure the day. Being organised can help to gather your thoughts. The old saying “tidy home - tidy mind” is something to think about; be it a tidy desk, organised day or home. There is so much screen time necessary at the moment that perhaps fitting something away from the screens could become part of your routine.

  • 7 Find time to relax +

    Relaxing can be hard when you are stressed and worrying about so many different things. But it is important more than ever right now to find some time for yourself.

    Take a bath instead of a shower, or find time to read a book; it is important that whatever we choose to do we keep focused and block out distractions. If you are watching a film for example, put your phone out of reach and avoid needing to leave the room to get snacks by being prepared beforehand. Go out for a walk, perhaps to the park or sea front & just sit taking in your surroundings.

    Need more help managing your worries?

    For more information, watch the video here (scroll down to the video called ‘The Worry Tree’)
    https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/youth-mental-health/

  • 8 Get enough sleep +

    How we sleep makes a big difference to how we feel. 

    Maintaining your usual sleeping pattern if you think that it works, ask yourself... ‘I sleep but it is enough & of good quality?’ Be honest!

    If you feel it isn’t then think about what you can do differently an hour before you sleep. Do you watch tv or spend time looking at your phone? Perhaps you could read or listen to some music instead. How much physical activity are you getting? These things might need to be addressed to improve your sleep hygiene. 

    Need more help with sleep?

    Here is a short video on sleep for teens: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/sleep-tips-for-teenagers/

    How to fall asleep and sleep better: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-how-to-fall-asleep-and-sleep-better/

  • 9 Limit time watching the news/social media +

    Do you find yourself constantly checking the latest regarding either Covid or whatever else may be going on in the world? 

    Limit the time you spend on social media, perhaps turn off the news alerts on your phone and give yourself a designated time that is for checking your phone as part of the routine in your day. This could help reduce your anxieties and give you more time to relax or do other things you enjoy.

    Need more help managing your social media concerns?

    For more information, watch the video here (Scroll down to the video called ‘Self-care and Social Media’)
    https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/youth-mental-health/

  • 10 Be kind to yourself +

    Remind yourself daily that you are great & doing the best you can in an unknown situation!

    We all have negative thoughts from time to time but it is important to remember that nobody is perfect and that we realise we all have our boundaries & limits. There is nothing wrong in saying  “Do you know what, I can’t do this right now” and do whatever it is later when you are in a different frame of mind. 

    Look for the positives in each day and at what you have achieved rather than what didn’t get done. 

    Persevere…. If you are struggling, take a break, evaluate the situation, look at where you may have gone wrong then try again. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

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Parent advice - supporting young people’s mental health

Many parents will have noticed a change in their child’s mental health. This may be as a direct result of the global pandemic, or the current situation may have worsened existing mental health issues. 

Parents and carers can take the first steps to supporting the young people using this guide.

Where should I start?

Read this advice for young people struggling with initial presentations of low-mood or stress.
How can I improve my mental health? Top 10 tips for young people (above)
Read it together if possible; consider how you can make some changes for them or with them, and take a look at some of the links to delve deeper into some of the issues.

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