Mental Health Tips
Mental Wellness Tips
- Take Care of Yourself
Self-soothing is very individualized. Enjoying a delicious meal, listening to your favorite song, sipping tea in fuzzy pajamas, or finding a fun hobby you can commit to weekly are all self-soothing activities.
- Engage in Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships have an equal balance of power. Try to engage with people who make you feel safe and respected, who listen well, and are emotionally available.
- Calm Mind, Calm Body
The mind-body connection is real. Studies show that negative thoughts or feelings can create changes in our brain chemistry and even affect our immune, digestive, and other physiological systems. There are a variety of mind-body practices to choose from to calm an anxious mind, including meditation and yoga.
- Finding and Coping with Triggers
Everything may be going smoothly and suddenly, you find yourself furious, panicky, or tearful and you don’t know why. Your physical body may be reacting to a trigger from your young childhood, even though your current situation is not life-threatening. Connecting with others, using grounding techniques, noticing, and observing feelings without judgment — these are all techniques that can bring you back to the present moment of comfort and safety.
- Let Self-Compassion Replace Self-Judgment
As a young child, shame and self-judgment probably protected you when you couldn’t protect yourself. Thank your shame for protecting you and ask it to please step back. Your early childhood was not your fault. It is now safe to love yourself. Go ahead and compassionately do so.
- What do I do in a Crisis?
If your parent is in a crisis, contact a trusted adult, tell them what’s happening and that you need help. If your parent is threatening to hurt themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US) 800-273-8255. If you are in another country, crisis numbers for you may be different.
I Am Feeling Upset, How Can I Take Care of Myself?
Think about what brings you calm and happiness. Some people like to listen to music, some draw or paint. Do things you love and that make you happy. Get a comfort food or a comfort drink like hot cocoa or tea. Practice some breathing techniques or grounding exercises.
Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring your mind into your present body instead of being stuck in your head. It uses your senses to bring back focus. If one doesn’t work, move to the next sense.
Some examples would be:
Touch: Grab your favorite fuzzy blanket, something you like to feel on your skin. You can also put your hands under running water. In the moment, focus only on what it feels like. Keep doing this until you feel better.
Sight: Look at something in the area you are in and focus on it. Look at the texture, the shape, what you imagine it feels like. Look at every little detail.
Sound: Listen to your favorite song/music, ASMR videos online, meditation music or even a clock ticking. Focus on the sound, the melody, notes, the rhythm, and repetition.
Taste: Eat or drink something and think about all the different flavors. Is it sweet, salty, or savory? Is it sour? What is the temperature?
Smell: Find something that smells nice. It could be a candle, lotion, or essential oil. Lavender can be particularly calming.
Sometimes it helps to identify your feelings. Use this Feelings Wheel and the below downloadable PDF to help.
What Do I Do When My Home Life is Affecting My Grades?
First off, if you’re not ok, you don’t have to act like it. It is ok to not be ok. Sometimes what happens at home might affect you negatively and make it difficult to concentrate in school. Maybe your parent said something that hurt your feelings, you didn’t get enough sleep, or you’re worried about them. There may be even times you can’t focus on assignments or you might be being bullied.
It’s never too late to ask for help. The best thing you can do is talk about it. Many teachers will give you extensions on homework if they see you’re struggling and you tell them what’s going on. You can even talk to a teacher or the school guidance counselor when you feel down. If you’d like, you can ask them to talk to your parent for you so they know how you feel.