Tips For Taking Care of Yourself During Stressful Times: a blog post for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

If you are depressed you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious you are living in the future. 
If you are at peace you are living in the present
— Lao Tzu

There are times in all our lives when life can seem to be a little hectic and therefore stress is inevitable! We are all bound to encounter negative life events, stressful times and situations that take us off track.

It is important to realise that stress is not always a terrible thing. For instance, it helps us to achieve our goals and protects us in life-threatening situations. However, when we carry stress for a prolonged amount of time without adequate coping strategies, it begins to affect our health, relationships, and all-around quality of life.

However, there are also proven ways to help train our minds and bodies to better handle stress and build resilience. If we have a few tools in our back pocket when stressful events arise, we're more likely to successfully overcome them.

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt to go through stressful times in my life is that however busy you are, it’s important for your mental health to take time out for yourself, relax and recharge the batteries!

Many people have no idea of how to take care of themselves, although they can be great at taking care of others. Practicing self-care during stressful times is the most important thing to help us feel better, function at our best, replenish our reserves, boost our energy and think clearly. 

The hectic or tough times in our lives are when we need to take care of ourselves the most. That’s when we need to move our bodies, get enough sleep, not skip meals, take a breather and engage in activities that nourish us.  

To take care of ourselves, a starting point may be to spend sometime trying to understand what sort of things help us feel nurtured, supported and cared for and it is important to remember that these are not necessary the same for everybody.

Here are some ideas on practicing self-care in stressful times whether you are: navigating studying for exams, a loved one’s illness or experiencing relationship problems etc.

Maintain Proper Nutrition – Food Can Affect Your Mood!

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There is a link between what we eat and how we feel. Skipping meals, particularly breakfast, can contribute to fatigue, mood swings, and poor concentration.  Eat regularly and make healthy choices.

Try these sites for brain food and further information:

Get Enough Sleep – Develop A Regular Sleep Pattern

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Sleep is very important for your emotional and physical wellbeing as it helps us to recover and recharge. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your ability to handle stress, concentrate and remember things. Furthermore, without adequate sleep you will have problems with your energy levels. Many sleep problems are temporary but if they continue it may be worth seeing your GP. It is recommended that young people should get about 9 to 10 hours a sleep and adults 8 hours sleep a day. 

Try these sites for useful tips on sleep and developing regular sleep patterns:

Exercise – Keep Active

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Exercise can be great for physical and mental health. Scientists have discovered that exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, which increase your feelings of overall wellbeing. There is also evidence to show that exercise can help raise self-esteem, help sleep problems, improve memory and concentration, takes your mind off negative thoughts, as well as reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.

Try these sites for more ideas and resources:

Improving your self-esteem – Have The Right Attitude

Self-esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. A person with low self-esteem tends to have negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. However, looking at things from an optimistic frame of mind can decrease your stress levels and bring you more success in life.

Try these sites for some for ways to boost your self-esteem:

Sharing what’s bothering you – Buddy Up

When your plate is full of emotions and feelings it is good to reach out and spend time with people who make you feel positive. Make a date for coffee with a friend or relative because talking about what’s bothering you can help to make it feel more manageable. It is important to develop supportive friendships and expand your social life so you’ll have someone to lean on when stressed. If you feel that the problems you’re having are too big for you to deal with by yourself you may want to get in contact with your GP, someone from school/college or someone else you trust.

If you’re finding it hard to talk to people you know about how you feel, contact

Taking time to relax – Wind Down

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Regular relaxation is beneficial for your mental health. If you make a regular time each day to practice some of the techniques below you will get better and better at relaxation and notice your day-to-day stress levels are lower. You will also become able to use relaxation at the times you need them most.

Try these relaxation techniques from Youthspace:

Also, this quick podcast from the Mental Health Foundation:

Another fantastic way to relax is to practice mindfulness. This is the focusing of attention and awareness on the here and now, and is often used to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It has its roots in Buddhism, though is used widely by people of all ages from all unusual backgrounds with all sorts of problems.

These Mental Health Foundation podcasts might help you relax and improve your sense of wellbeing:


Come and join us for a free mindfulness workshop!

Why don’t you come and join us for a free Mindfulness session for young people aged 10 to 16 years, parents and carers?

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The event is being held at The Bob Jones Community Hub (Bromley St, WV2 3AS) on 16th May from 4:15pm to 5:15pm.

The workshop will be delivered by Adam Dacey, the founder of Mindspace.


Top Tip!

30-minute Rule. No matter how busy you are, take half-hour each day just for yourself to relax & recharge!

Remember: Love yourself first because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with!