Mental Health

​Mental Health and Wellbeing

Everyone has mental health and it's important to look after it just as you would look after your physical health.  In fact, having good mental health can also have a positive impact on you physical health and vice versa.  During this period of social distancing and self isolation it's even more important for everyone to look at ways to help their mental health and wellbeing. 

Experts have identified 5 ways to wellbeingConnectbe activekeep learninggive and take notice.  There's more information below about each area with ideas you can try - a lot which can be done even if you're stuck at home!

Connect

Social relationships and interaction is crucial for positive wellbeing therefore keep in touch with people.  As human beings we all want to feel close to and be valued by other people. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Spend time with people in your house doing something together such as playing board games, reading together, singing, doing arts and crafts etc.
  • Sit down as a household to eat your meals.
  • Talk to someone instead of sending messages.
  • Make use of social media apps to make video calls.
  • If you have a good friendship group or group of family members all free at the same time, make a group call.
  • Make sure you check in with at least one person in the day to see how they're doing.

 

Be Active

Regular physical activity not only keeps you physically fit but research also shows that it can help lower rates of depression and anxiety for people of all ages.  Being physically active doesn't always mean intense exercise or gym workouts.

Why not try these:

  • Make use of any garden space to have a kick about or run around.
  • If you have a skipping rope, do some skipping.
  • Yoga, Pilates or even basic stretches.
  • Dance to your favourite music – you could even learn or make up your own dance routines.
  • Do some gardening.
  • Follow me exercise routine – each week nominate one person to make up a quick morning exercise routine that everyone has to stick to for the week (i.e. running on the spot for so many minutes, star jumps, hopping).
  • Walk up and down your stairs for several minutes.
  • Doing chores.
  • Build a den using spare bedsheets, cushions or cardboard boxes.

Keep Learning

Whilst some children and young people are currently unable to attend school learning doesn’t stop as schools are still setting work remotely that should be completed with support from carers.  It’s also very tempting to spend a lot of time on electronic devices now that you’re unable to go out but how about setting yourself a goal to learn a new skill or do some puzzles to still give your brain a workout but time away from electronic screens to give your eyes a break.  Learning a new skill will give you a sense of purpose, help you pass time and can give you a boost in self-confidence. 

Give some of these a go:

  • Learn how to bake or cook something new.
  • Learn a language using an app.
  • Try a new hobby such as painting, writing, photography, card or paper crafting, gardening etc.
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Do a crossword, wordsearch, Sudoku or other types of puzzles.
  • Make up a quiz for your family.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Do some DIY.
  • Watch education videos.

Give

An act of giving and kindness can come in a range of scale and forms from spending time with someone to volunteering in your local community.  Those acts of kindness however big or small can give you a sense of reward, provide some positivity, give a feeling or purpose and self-worth but also helps you to connect with other people.

You could try:

  • Offering to help someone out with a task such as DIY or household task.
  • Listen to someone if they have a problem.
  • Say “Thank you" to someone for something they've done for you.
  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Go through your room to see if there are any clothes, books or toys that no longer fit or you no longer need to donate to charity.
  • Make something for someone such as a card or cakes/biscuits.
  • Give someone compliments.

Take Notice

Paying more attention to the present and taking notice of yourself (including your body and thoughts) and your surroundings can strengthen and broaden your awareness.  This is sometimes also known as “mindfulness".  Being more aware of the present moment can help you to enjoy the world around you, understand yourself better and have more appreciation for things that you might have been taking for granted. 

Ways to take notice:

  • Mindfulness meditation https://www.headspace.com/meditation/kids
  • Taking deep breaths.
  • Pay attention to how you are feeling.
  • Pay attention to how your other people might be feeling.
  • Look closely at any object you see all the time but pay attention to the details, you might see something that you've never noticed before.
  • Mindfulness colouring.
  • Take photos.
  • Relax in the sun.

If you have any other ideas that you would like to be added to the lists - please email: virtual.school@halton.gov.uk   

Here are some other resources to support mental health:

Every Mind Matters - NHS website with hints and tips from experts on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing as well as quizzes and signposting to where you can get extra support.  There are also usefull suggested apps on there to help you in a range of areas including getting more active and meal planning.  

Cosmic Kids - Yoga and Mindfulness for age 3+ through short videos that follow a storyline.  Visit the site: Cosmic Kids 

Change4Life (NHS) - short 10 minute activities that will help keep children and young people moving throughout the day to stay active and healthy.  There's also resources on there for healthy eating as well.  Visit the site: https://www.nhs.uk/change4life

Reading Well - a list of expert endorsed books about mental health that provides 13-18 year olds with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress, OCD and difficult experiences like bullying and exams.  Books are available to borrow from libraries and some are also available as e-books and audiobooks.   

Visit: Reading Well

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Halton Virtual School

Halton Borough Council,
Rutland House Floor 1,
Halton Lea, Runcorn WA7 2GW