Taking care of yourself

Lots of things in life can leave you feeling overwhelmed, numb or stressed. But we’ve got tips and ideas to help you calm down, take care of yourself and feel better. 

learning to cope

Taking care of yourself means doing things just for you to help you to feel better.

Learning to slow down your thoughts and change how you see things can help you to:
• feel better and happier
• concentrate, study or work
• find new ways to cope with situations.

Self-care can take time and practice. But the more you do it, the easier it can get.

ways to feel calmer

Try one of these things every day:

Be kind to yourself. Think about what you'd say to a friend if they were in your position.
Check your basic needs. Think about whether you’re hungry, thirsty or tired - and eat, drink or rest if you need to.
Focus on things right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or angry, take yourself out of the situation by pausing for 30 seconds and feeling your feet firmly on the ground or your back against a chair.
• Take a break. Make time to listen to music, go for a walk or have a chat with family or friends.
Take deep breaths. Take 5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Be kind to other people. Help yourself to feel proud or good by doing a random act of kindness like offering to wash up, make someone a cup of tea or get involved in volunteering.
• Learn to say no. Think about yourself before others – if someone is taking up a lot of your time and it's making you stressed or upset, let them know when you need a break. See our tips for being assertive.

What you can do right now

If you're struggling with your thoughts or feelings because of something that's happened, it can help to focus on things around you. Try naming:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch or feel
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste.

Be as detailed as you want about each. And if you're struggling to find things you can hear, tap on something or make a noise.

Videos that can help

When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed it can help to focus on things here and now. Focusing on your breathing, grounding yourself or concentrating on your body can really help to calm you down and feel more able to cope. Take some time to listen to each video. You can play them as many times as you want.

Breathing tips to calm you

How to ground yourself

Calming exercises

building a healthy routine

When you’re feeling down it can be hard to find the time to do small things. But no matter how you’re feeling, there are ways to remind yourself to keep up a healthy routine.

You could try to:

• set a reminder on your phone or write yourself a note to take a break when you're feeling stressed
• practise different tips from this page – it can take time to find what works for you so why not bookmark this page or save it to your locker
• share ideas and get tips from other young people on our message boards.

How to start the day in a good way

One of the most important parts of a routine is having a good start to the day. Try these things when you wake up:

1. Give yourself more time in the morning - set an alarm at the same time everyday and give yourself an extra 10 minutes so you don’t need to rush
2. Take a few minutes after you wake up to ask yourself how you’re feeling
3. Drink a glass of water to kick start your body and mind
4. Shower or splash your face with cool water to wake you up
5. Always have breakfast
6. Take 5 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth
7. Do some relaxing morning exercises.

Track your mood with the mood journal in your locker and see what things help you to keep a healthy routine.

Making positive changes

Positive changes to your routines can help you to feel better. Pick one or two ideas to try for at least two weeks so they can become part of your everyday habits. 

Getting help

If you ever feel unsafe or unable to cope by yourself, it’s important to get support. You could:

• go somewhere safe with an adult you feel safe with
• speak to a Childline counsellor online or by phoning 0800 1111
• call 999 and ask for an ambulance, or call the non-emergency number on 111.