Mental wellbeing checklist
We've put together some things for you to think about
As the lockdown begins to be lifted, many young people in Calderdale and Kirklees are now back at school. Whether you’re a student, parent, carer or teacher, you might be feeling a range of emotions. Perhaps you’re nervous or anxious about returning full-time to the classroom? Or maybe you’re excited to be back seeing your friends but need a bit of help to keep things in balance?
Whatever you’re feeling, it’s important to take time to look after yourself and your wellbeing.
We’ve put together a few key things that you might like to think about, to help you to make the most of your return to school while making sure you’re staying safe and healthy.
- Exercise: we know you might be taking part in PE lessons and you might even be walking to school but did you know how much of an effect movement can have on your wellbeing? Research shows that just a 10 minute walk can increase our alertness and help to reduce anxiety. Half an hour of activity for three to five days a week can have the best outcome for making us feel better. Why not try going for a run around the block after school? Or if you don’t fancy leaving the house, you could try using YouTube to find tutorials for exercises you can do safely at home
- Sleep: did you know that lack of sleep over a period of time can contribute to serious medical conditions? A good idea is to try to get a full eight hours of sleep a night if you can. Think about what time you need to be up for school each morning - how much time in the morning do you need before you leave the house? What is the latest time you can get out of bed? Once you know this, try to work out what time your head needs to be hitting the pillow for a rejuvenating night’s sleep
- Limit screen time: some studies have shown that blue light from our electronic devices can have a serious impact on our ability to get a good night’s sleep. This is because it inhibits the body’s natural production of melatonin, which we need to nod off. Try to make sure that your phone, tablet, or gaming console is off or on aeroplane mode, 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime. Check out this list on the Young Minds website of activities that don’t require screens – have a look and see if you can come up with an alternative routine to help your brain switch off before sleep
- Be mindful of what you’re eating: what we consume can have a huge effect on our body’s ability to stay healthy but did you know it also impacts on our wellbeing? Too much sugar and processed food can alter how much energy we have through the day. If you can, try to eat fresh foods rather than processed ones, replace soft drinks with water and a slice of lemon or lime, and swap chocolate for a piece of fruit
- Stay hydrated: making sure we get enough water is important for the health of our brain, our skin, and our body as a whole. A slice of lemon or lime can help improve the taste and add vital nutrients. Try to drink a glass when you wake up and keep a bottle with you, so you can fill up regularly at school
- Go easy on yourself: nobody’s perfect and we all have off days. The most important thing is that you’re doing the best you can
- Take time out: a lot of us are finding life pretty hard going at the moment. Whether you’re stressed about catching up at school or feeling down about everything else going on in the world right now, it's important to spend time doing something that makes you happy and helps you relax. Read a book, take a bubble bath, listen to your favourite playlist, go for a walk, FaceTime your friend or snuggle up and watch your favourite film. Think about what helps you ‘switch off’ and set aside some ‘me time’ each week
- Ask for help: if you feel like you need some support, help is at hand. You might like to speak with someone you trust, like a friend, family member, teacher, or your C+K adviser. If you’d like to keep things a bit more private, there is some excellent advice on the Young Minds website about how to look after yourself and how to get in touch with organisations that can offer further advice if you need to talk to someone. Remember that it’s absolutely okay to ask for help if you need it
All the best
Georgina and Kate
Trainee careers advisers
Find out more at:
- Mental Health Foundation - how to look after your mental health using exercise
- NHS website - why lack of sleep is bad for your health
- Sleep Foundation - how does blue light affect children's sleep?
Page updated March 2021