In addition to the resources on this page of our website, we are putting together a list of activities you could try to help look after your wellbeing during this challenging time.
Ways to de-stress and relax:
- General relaxation activities
- Mind suggest and talk you through three different exercises that may help you to relax: relaxing your body, drawing calming circles, and taking a mindful moment in nature.
- Prefer videos? Mind have created this video which suggests 8 relaxation tips to look after your wellbeing when you're feeling stressed, busy or worried.
- Learn.4mentalhealth suggest a whole range of activities that you could try to help you feel calmer, they take either 30 seconds, 3 minutes, or 30 minutes.
- Childline's 'Calm Zone' gives information and tips on a number of different ways to relax, feel calm and distract youreslf, such as: calming activities, breathing exercises, ways to express yourself, yoga exercises, and games to play.
- Prefer videos? Have a look at Childline's video on calming techniques to try if you're feeling stressed or worried.
- Have a go at progressive muscle relaxation using this guide created by Anxiety Canada.
- Have a look a this poster created by Centre 33 which talks you through 3 different activities to calm a worried mind and stressed body.
- Have a look at the NHS's guide to mindfulness and mindful techniques, which could help you to: become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, become more present in the moment, better cope with stress and worries.
- Try a 10 minute mindfulness exercise created by the Mental Health Foundation.
- Try some of the activities listen on Action for Happiness' 'Mindful March' calendar which can be found here.
- Breathing techniques
- Have a listen to this short podcast from the Mental Health Foundation that talks you through a breathing exercise which may help if you're feeling stressed and wanting to relax.
- Prefer watching videos? Have a look at Childline's video on breathing techniques to cope with stress.
- The following breathing technique may be helpful: breathe in slowly through your nose for 3 seconds, then breathe out slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times or as necessary.
- The 'box breathing' technique may also be helpful: Imagine a square box with its 4 sides. Imagine tracing up the left-hand side and breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, now tracing across the top pause for 4 seconds, then tracing down the right-hand side breathe out for 4 seconds, then lastly going along the bottom pause for 4 seconds. Repeat this as necessary.
- Anxiety Canada have created this guide on how to talk a child through calm breathing exercises.
- Grounding techniques
- The 'five senses' grounding technique may be useful if you're feeling particularly anxious or overwhelmed. Look around you and notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste. It may help to say these things out loud when you notice them.
- Prefer videos? Have a look at Childline's video on grounding techniques to cope with stress.
- There isn't just one 'normal' way to relax - there might be other things not listed here that you enjoy doing and you find relaxing. For some people this might be being arty and creative, for others it may be listening to certain music, for some it may be having a warm bath, or watching a favourite movie, getting lost in a good book, or doing some gentle exercise. Have a think about what works best for you, and try to spend time each day doing something that you find relaxing.
Being physically active:
- Have a look at these 10 minute exercise videos from the NHS, no equipment needed and they can be done at home.
- See this page on the NHS website for several workouts you can do in your home and without any exercise equipment, including: seated yoga, chair workouts, sprinter workout, sofa workout, stairs workout, and back exercises.
- Have a look at the yoga videos on Childline's 'Calm Zone' page.
- Other examples of physical activities you could try include: going for a walk, going for a jog or run, going cycling, walking up and down stairs, doing stretches, doing yoga, dancing, skipping, etc.
Fun things to do:
There are quite a few events and activities being made freely available online at the moment, here are just a few ideas of things to have a look at:
- Like animals? Then check out these live web-cam recordings of zoo animals around the world:
- Like listening to music? Then have a look at these free concert recordings of your favourite bands here.
- Like art galleries and museums? This article provides links to the websites of twelve galleries and museums around the world that are offering virtual tours and videos of the things they have on display.
- Enjoy being creative?
- Download some free colouring pages here to print at home.
- Create art online and express your feelings using Childline's digital 'Art Box'.
- Like playing games? Have a go at some of the free games on Childline's website here.
- Other activities you could try if you're feeling bored or need a distraction: watching a tv-series or film, baking, chatting to friends or family online, play video games, drawing or making something, keeping a diary, playing with pets, going for a walk, doing a jigsaw or board game, reading, helping a family member do something, listening to a podcast, etc.
Other wellbeing and self-care resources:
Anna Freud Centre provide information and tips on a number of different activites and strategies that you may find helpful for looking after yourself.
Greater Good Magazine created by the University of California - Berkley, contains lots of information and suggestions about ways to look after your wellbeing; including videos, podcasts and articles informed by research.
Children and Young People's Health Services Norfolk have created a series of podcasts for young people called 'Health Uncovered'. This series, "aims to get young people in-tune with their health and wellbeing". The podcasts are free and you can listen via mobile devices, tablets and laptops. Just search “Health Uncovered” in your favourite podcast app, like iTunes, alternatively you can use the player on their website here.
- Read Laura's blog on Young Minds for tips on how to create a routine four yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, and the benefits in doing so.
- Read Lily's blog on Young Minds for tips on how to look after your mental health if you're living in a difficult home environment.
- Read Charlie's blog on Young Minds for tips on how to cope Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) during the coronavirus pandemic.