It is always important to take care of our mental health. Now more than ever, it is vital that we keep ourselves healthy and look after those around us. This page is a reminder of how to set up good routines, tips on activities you can do to keep yourself well and motivated, along with advice on where to go to seek support.
We all have Mental Health
We All Have Mental Health is an animation video produced by Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. It has been designed to give young people aged 11-14 a common language and understanding of what is meant by mental health and how we can look after it.
Living with worry and anxiety
Our world is changing rapidly at the moment. Given some of the news coverage, it would be hard not to worry about what it all means for yourself and your family. Worry and anxiety are common problems but when they take over, can become all-encompassing. This guide, Living with Worry and Anxiety, has been put together to help you manage your worry and anxiety in these uncertain times, and includes some activities to help you too.
Working from home tips
Studying at home is a real change from what you will be used to and can be challenging in different ways. Where has all your focus and motivation suddenly gone? Everything is a distraction, from the TV, to the fridge, the washing machine, your pets and you’re oh so close to your comfy, warm bed!
But we know you don’t want to fall behind with your studies, so you’re going to need to create an environment for yourself that helps you block out all those distractions and get to work!
- Make a morning routine
The problem: Working from home means your morning commute is a breeze! No more setting your alarm hours before to get ready for lessons. Instead, you might find yourself getting up five minutes before you start. The problem is, this isn’t going to make you productive what-so-ever and it will be way too difficult to get back into a morning routine when school’s re-open (yes, they will reopen at some point!)
The solution: Get up half an hour before your first lesson, maybe make yourself some breakfast and a morning drink, make your bed, let the sun (or the clouds) in by opening those curtains, and get yourself awake both mentally and physically for the day’s work.
- Get out of those PJ’s!
The problem: You’ve got nowhere to physically go and don’t have to leave the house, so you find that you’ve not been bothering to get dressed in the morning?
The solution: Well, getting yourself dressed, hair and teeth brushed, will make you feel more awake and put you in a better mindset for learning.
- Make your own workspace
The problem: When we’ve worked from home, we’ve all just dragged the laptop over and stayed in bed, right?
The solution: Throwback those covers and set yourself up a little area where you can work, it’ll help make your work-life divide a lot easier. If you can, try to set yourself up a workstation that is not even in your bedroom so you can separate the space where you sleep/relax and where you work.
Use your dinner table, a desk, or even your sofa and coffee table. Make sure you’re sat up and comfy and have a chair with good back support and the environment is quiet enough to work with few distractions or temptations to do something else.
- Use your breaks
The problem: It can be really easy to get drawn into your lessons and your work that you forget where the time is going! You eat your lunch in front of your screen and try and work through it all.
The solution: Your brain needs to take breaks and rest, just like it would in a normal school day. Even if it is five minutes between lessons, make sure you take a break and stretch your legs with a quick walk around the house or the garden if you have one.
Work out what you’re going to do at break time and lunchtime; what snack will you make or what will you watch or play for half an hour? Why not try a Joe Wicks workout or take up Yoga and mindfulness? There are YouTube videos for everything- go ahead and try something new to take your mind off things.
- Find your balance
The problem: For some, doing a full day of work or online lessons and then completing homework at home can be mentally tiring. You may also find that your home circumstances change if you are having to help look after younger siblings or if someone in the house becomes sick. This can add a lot of pressure on to you and if it is not sorted, you can burn out and become very stressed.
The solution: Talk to a teacher or pastoral manager if you’re struggling with your deadlines, or to cope with the demands of work at school and the support you’re having to give your family at home. If they can accommodate you working different hours than usual, they will definitely help.
- Set up a chat call
The problem: When you’re at school, there are points in the day where you’ll chat and socialise. When you’re working from home you don’t get any of that time to chat. If we are used to contact with friends, we can become quite lonely or sad if we don’t speak to anyone, without even realising it.
The solution: Suggest a video call where you and your friends can catch up and have a chat for half an hour a couple of times a week. If you make it the same time every week, it gives you something to look forward to.
It’ll make you all feel less isolated as well as motivate and give you all a boost.
Keep yourself stimulated and occupied
Mentalhealth.com has launched a series of activities for mental health awareness designed to keep us stimulated, occupied and motivated whilst we remain at home and beyond the lockdown. They are encouraging you to be active for 30 minutes a day, which may include running, walking and cycling, but this does not have to be strenuous – you can do the gardening or get those arm muscles moving by baking a cake. Whatever your physical ability, this challenge is for everyone.
What sort of activities can you do?
- HIIT, Pilates, Yoga – whatever exercise floats your boat that day
- Walking – it's great to try and get some fresh air everyday so why not incorporate this into your challenge
- Baking – get your sweat on in the kitchen by cooking up a storm
- Gardening – this can be a great workout too!
www.YouTube.com is full of great demonstrations on all these activities, from workouts with Joe Wicks to baking with Mary Berry. So go on, try something new and stay motivated! Visit their website for more information: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
Staying at home and working from home can be stressful. No matter what, it is always best to talk to someone. That’s why we recommend Kooth and Shout 85258 to provide free, anonymous online counselling tailored to young people. Their specialists are available every day and are on hand to support you either over the phone or through text. It can be used for any form of support that is linked to stress or anxiety. For further information, please visit their website at the link below or speak to a teacher or pastoral manager for more advice. https://kooth.com/ or giveusashout.org
If you wish to get advice, information or support on your health (physical and mental) you can visit https://www.nelft.nhs.uk/e-drop-in to request contact.