Self-care 101: Five top tips

As term starts and the stress builds up, it’s good to know what to do to take care of yourself.

Here are some ideas that may help:

Here's a recap if you'd rather read the advice instead of watching the video:

1. Breathe slowly

This is one of the quickest ways of letting your brain and body know ‘it’s OK'. Take your first finger of one hand and put it near the base of your thumb on your other hand. Trace around the outside of your hand, breathing in as you trace up each finger and breathing out as your trace down the other side. Repeat this as many times as you need to, taking things as slowly as you can.

2. Check your eating habits

When we are stressed our eating habits can change – we often overeat or under eat. If you can, try to get full at mealtimes so you don’t need to top up with sugary snacks. It can also be fun to learn how to make the things you like eating, and to eat with other people.

3. Sleep

Did you know your brain is really active when your body is asleep? For example, lots of the stuff you learn at school gets memorised when you are asleep. So, it’s a good idea to get nine hours of sleep every night if you can. Try to get into a regular bedtime routine and switch screens off in your bedroom. Sleep can help improve how you feel so this is a great way of looking after yourself.

4. Do what you love

What do you enjoy that helps you to feel relaxed? Make a list of these things and do one of them when you feel stressed out. This could include doing your favourite sport, reading, listening to music, crafting or singing.

5. Get moving

If stress has built up in your body, then a great way to take care of it is to ‘shake it off'. Great ways to do this include going for walk or run, kicking a ball, shooting some hoops, dancing, running up and down the stairs or whatever gets you moving.

6. Talk to someone

Find a family member, friend, teacher or sports coach to talk to about how you feel. Always tell a trusted adult if you feel things are getting too much.

Advice from Dr Niki Cooper, Clinical Director, and Julia Clements, Principal Educational Psychologist, at children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

Where to find help

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher or other trusted adult. If you'd like to speak to someone outside of your immediate circle, here are some places to find help:

  • If you need urgent help, you can contact Shout who run a Crisis Text Line. It's available 24 hours a day for anyone in the UK. Text CONNECT to 85258
  • You can contact Childline to speak to a counsellor online or over the phone.
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