Looking After Yourself

If your school thinks that you would benefit from some support from elsewhere, then it will organise this for you. Find out what Jill Sandeman (Educational Psychologist) has been doing to keep herself and her family happy and healthy during COVID-19. Thinking about the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ is one approach to use:


1. Stay Connected

We are all surrounded by different people in our lives, be they parents, carers, siblings, teachers and/or friends (the list is endless). Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with these people is important to living a happy and rewarding life. As well as gaining pleasure from their company, they can also provide a support network in more difficult times.

Remember that your relationships should bring about positive experiences and make you feel good about yourself. If not, or if you feel that you are unable to be yourself in a relationship, then think about seeking help or advice from someone that you can trust. If you need help coping with a relationship or friendship then explore: www.themix.org.uk If you are looking to expand your social network then www.meetup.com is an online platform that helps people with shared interests to connect.


2. Be Active

Physical exercise can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing. It can boost your self-esteem, mood, the quality of your sleep and your levels of energy, as well as reducing the risk of stress and anxiety. You do not have to run a marathon or spend money on joining a gym to realise these benefits. You could, for example:

For fitness classes (body combat, pilates, zumba, spin) and access to a gym and pool explore activenorthumberland.org.uk

Try to take part in 2-3 activities a week to maximise your physical and therefore mental wellbeing. In addition, make sure you maintain a healthy diet to give you lots of energy: nhs.uk/change4life


3. Keep Learning and Celebrate Accomplishments

Engagement in activities that stretch your intelligence, skills and emotional capabilities is crucial to your wellbeing. Find something that you enjoy or have always wanted to try: playing an instrument, solving a puzzle or researching your family tree, for example.

For those looking to learn a new language, Duolingo and Drops are both great apps that you can download to your smartphone or tablet. They will teach you everything you need to know, from the basics, such as numbers, right through to popular phrases that you can use when you finally go on that holiday you have been looking forward to!

Or why not get a new qualification? The Open University has made a number of courses available - you can learn about anything from history, to psychology to science...all for free! For further opportunities to gain new skills (ages 16-30) explore princes-trust.org.uk

Achieving your goals can lead to a sense of satisfaction and therefore pride and fulfilment. Remember to:

  • Celebrate and share your success - you have achieved something that deserves to be acknowledged

  • Set goals that are realistic, rather than setting yourself up for a fall!


4. Help Others

Helping others can be a very rewarding experience: it makes you feel good about yourself and gives you a sense of purpose. It can take many forms, from large to small in scale, such as volunteering/campaigning for a cause that you feel strongly about to helping a neighbour with their shopping.

www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk is an online platform dedicated to connecting volunteers with the causes that they care about, such as tackling loneliness or supporting vulnerable young people within the local community.


5. Take Notice

Try not to dwell on the past or worry too much about the future: stay focussed on what is happening in the here and now, acknowledging the positives and the aspects of your life that you can influence/control. If you need support to achieve this then you could try:

  • Keeping a mood tracker diary, using apps such as MoodWell - this will help you to evaluate how different triggers are affecting your mental health, so you can eliminate the negatives
  • Using mindfulness and meditation to improve your focus - Apps like Calm and Headspace may help you.

Looking After Yourself - Resources