So, we’ve all got this thing called mental health. It’s a lot like our physical health, but more to do with our brains. Good mental health is just as important as a healthy heart, gut, or any of the other squishy bits we have inside us.
Same as with our bodies, sometimes we feel good and sometimes, well… we don’t. And that’s totally normal!
But if your mental health is causing you problems, then you should tell someone and try to get it sorted. Your family and grownups are the best people to help, but there are a few things that YOU can do to help that lovely big brain chug along smoothly.
First of all…Talk to someone!
This is the most important one! Don’t feel embarrassed to tell someone if you feel sad, worried, angry – or if anything else doesn’t feel right. The grown-ups in your life should understand, and they were kids themselves too once (about a million years ago). If you don’t think you can talk to someone, just keep trying. Or try a different grown up! And remember, talking about your feelings is really hard, but the more you practice it the easier it gets.
So how do I control my feelings?
This is difficult question. Nobody really knows the answer, and everyone’s problems are different. But you can help control any bad thoughts you’re having by trying these nifty tricks. They won’t fix everything, but they’re a good place to start!
Trick Number One: Breathing
You ever noticed how when you get scared your heart speeds up and you start breathing in and out really fast? Well we’re going to do the opposite. Whatever you’re doing, stop and take a BIG, deep breath in. Do it as slow as you can. Fill your lungs up with air and hold it for 1…2…3 seconds – or as long as it feels comfortable. Now breathe out again – as slowly as possible – same as before. Keep doing this and focus on your breathing. See if you can get in a rhythm and make each breath the same. This might feel strange, but it really can make you feel better. Especially if you get good at it. Fun fact: this is actually a kind of meditation and has been used for thousands of years. So don’t just trust us!
Trick Number Two: Think about something else
When your mind is jumping about all over the place, stop and think of these things: 4 sounds you can hear 3 of your favourite colours in the room 2 things you can smell 1 thing you like about yourself. Name these things in your head, not out loud. You can add other things to the list too, like 5 of the biggest things you can see and 6 of the smallest. Thinking like this gives your brain a break, and can help you feel a bit better.
Trick Number 3: Write it down
Are you angry at Coronavirus for messing up your summer? Or sad because you haven’t seen your friends for ages? Whatever is making you worried or angry or sad, write it down. You could make a list of 10 things that are super annoying, or write a long letter explaining exactly how you feel. Nobody else ever needs to read your letter. You can hide it, rip it up into tiny pieces, get a grownup to help you set it on fire. It’s up to you. But just writing it down can help you understand how you feel, and it can help a lot.
Trick Number 4: Make a routine
If you can, try to plan out your week so you have time for school work, time for hobbies, and time for relaxing. And then stick to your plan. You can always change it later! You can also give yourself one easy thing to do every single day, whatever happens. You could learn a new animal fact, or draw a picture of something every day. Make sure it’s easy enough and fun enough to keep doing. Keeping to a routine, even an easy one – will help you feel better over a longer time.
Trick Number 5: Remember to have fun!
Ok, this isn’t really a trick – it’s an ORDER. Don’t forget to do fun things! Not just because it’s fun, but because it’s good for you. And remember, talk to grownups! They might be useless 99% of the time, but they can be pretty good at this kind of thing. Good luck!