It is vital we remove any stigma surrounding mental health and we speak up about it. 1 in 2 people experience bullying at some point in our lives; that’s 1.5 million young people in the last year alone. Of those, only 40% told somebody.
This year the theme of Pupil Voice Week is ‘It’s Your Voice’ which is all about using your voice to promote diversity, individuality and positivity! From the 25th-29th of September, we’ll be encouraging pupil’s to speak up about their mental health and well-being.
Ditch the Label celebrates this important message and this post suggests some great ways you can take care of yourself so you’re happy and healthy – which is just how we like it! Speaking up about mental health is so important and there are loads of ways this can be done!
For example, talking to friends you trust, your parents, a teacher you’re close to or online through various mental health support services. You can also talk to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label here.
So… It’s time to encourage each other to speak up and positively support each other in the school environment.
“We recognise that pupils can only fulfil their potential when they have good mental health and wellbeing. This year’s Pupil Voice Week aims to encourage a long-term change of culture that puts a pupil’s wellbeing and mental health at the heart of the school.” – Pupil Voice Week, Tootoot.
Lets take a look at the best ways you can take care of your mental health and also use your voice to create positivity!
1. Eat and drink well
Food effects your mood! Eating well is something we all struggle with but if you care about what you’re putting in your body you’ll really start to see the benefits!
Have a good breakfast and eat regularly throughout the day to keep your sugar level steady (which means you won’t feel irritable or depressed).
Quit the sugary snacks as they make your blood sugar level fluctuate! Eat more fruit and vegetables so you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Drink more water and cut the caffeine down (as coffee can make you feel anxious, depressed and prevent you from sleeping)!
Getting plenty of sleep is SO important and helps you feel good. It recharges your batteries, lets your body repair and hello – beauty sleep is a real thing! If you struggle to get to sleep then try and get yourself into a pre-sleep routine.
For example; have a bath, don’t look at any devices like your phone, keep your bedroom at a cool temperature, turn the lights down and try and have quiet time so your brain and body can relax. Try and read a book or magazine in bed instead of watching TV.
When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body! So try running (which is especially good if you feel stressed or down as it is a great way to clear your mind), engage in a sports club or simply go for a brisk walk with some headphones in and you’re sure to be striding yourself into a happier mood and not to mention a healthier life!
4. Practice mindfulness
Having time to quieten your mind and be still and reflective is so important to gain some perspective. It makes you feel calm and also gives you an opportunity to really listen and get to know yourself.
There are loads of guided meditations on YouTube and apps to help you. Trust me you’ll feel much more relaxed even after your first go!
Yep, use your voice to just let it all out. It’s best if you talk about the more serious stuff with someone you trust. Whether it’s your friends, family, your tutor or a councillor, just chat away until it feels like a weight is lifted off your shoulders.
Talking about your problems or how you’re feeling can really open up the doors to receiving some helpful advice which could help fix your problems. The best therapy is talking – a problem shared is a problem halved after all!
6. Pamper yourself
Nothing feels better than having a bubble bath, lighting some candles and then covering yourself in moisturiser! Giving yourself some self love and looking after your body makes you feel fantastic and also means you look great too!
7. Don’t abuse alcohol or substances
It really isn’t cool – no matter how many times your so-called friends encourage you to try it. Drugs and alcohol have negative impacts on your health and well-being. If this is an area you feel you are struggling with then seek out further support so you can get the help you need.
8. Do something creative (even if you’re not good at it)
Just picking up a pen and doodling for a bit or taking some pictures with your phone can get the creative juices flowing! Or why not write a short story or try and bake and decorate a cake!
Whatever it is – using your hands and creating something will give you a great sense of achievement which will make you feel fab! (And if it’s crap don’t worry no one has to see it anyway!)
9. Try and learn something new everyday
Whether at school listening and asking questions or doing some research yourself on a topic which interests you. For example, read up some facts about space – there’s always something really interesting and mind-blowing which can be discovered!
Plus, it’ll impress your family when you drop in some space facts over dinner like the fact that on Venus a single day is approximately the same length as one Earth year!
10. Play a game (which isn’t on your phone – heard of cards?)
We all love a bit of UNO too don’t we? Don’t pretend you don’t! If you get all your family together and interact you’ll have a laugh, chat about all sorts of stuff and feel much more connected to your family which in turn will make you feel good!
11. Visit your Grandma for some tea and cake
Yep, use your voice again and talk stuff over with someone wise like your lovely grandma! Chatting is so therapeutic and grandparents always seem to give great advice. Chat to them about anything – you’ll be really surprised how much they know about everything and anything (after all they’ve been there and done it all, right?)
12. Cuddle an animal
Preferably this unbelievably cute kitten, but if you can’t get this one then I guess another animal will have to do! Stroking and cuddling pets has been proven to help with depression and stress! Pets are super cute and you just can’t help but smile when you see their silly little faces looking up at you!
13. Daydream and don’t let anything prevent you from dreaming big
Daydreaming helps you to understand your mind and makes you realise what you want to achieve in life. If you don’t dream about things then how else would you realise what you like or want from life?
The biggest dreams may seem unreachable but everything from travelling the world to owning a business starts with a dream, so why is it any different for you? See it as dreaming being the start of your career!
Knowing what you want will in turn bring a sense of focus, excitement and happiness as you will feel like you’re on track towards something. Even if it doesn’t work out how you expect, don’t stop dreaming!
14. Keep an organised and tidy room
Yes, you’ll have messy days and you’ll have super clean days but maintaining a clean and tidy room and knowing where things are will help keep your mind organised and calm!
15. Try and take time out from social media every day
Not just 5 minutes! Try an hour offline, you’ll be super surprised at the results! Being a little less available to people is good for your image and self confidence too as you’ll look and feel independent.
The feeling of self control you’ll gain after refraining from checking your phone will make you feel really powerful!
It’s also been proven that the frequent use of smartphones is linked to harmful effects on mental health. So, don’t let your phone control you, you’re in control of your phone, you’ve got this!
17. Enjoy spending time with friends and family in reality (not just on social media)
It’s easy to stay in and sit on social media, especially when the weather isn’t great! But the benefits of using your voice to interact with people in reality are great! Have a sleepover, go to town or meet for coffee! You’ll develop your social skills, you’ll have fun and you might get to know someone on a deeper level.
18. Get involved in drama
Your voice is so powerful and using it with confidence is very powerful! It’s been found that drama clubs are really good for self-esteem as you’ll learn all sorts of skills which will build your confidence. It’s also really fun and you’ll meet new people too! Who knows you might be the next Jennifer Lawrence or Ryan Gosling!
19. Meet some new friends
It’s great to have friends who all know each other. But it’s also really good to have friends from different social groups so you can enjoy a diverse mix of people. It’s also healthy because it’s easy to become dependent on certain people and we all know that in life unfortunately things can go wrong and nothing is ever certain. It’s not always a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket shall we say!
20. Do something nice for someone
For example, cook your family dinner! It’s fun and you’ll also feel really warm and fuzzy inside doing something for someone else. Doing things for others is proven to make you feel good!
There you go! Why not try some of what’s been suggested during Pupil Voice Week and see the results for yourself!
Toot toot – An app for school pupils to use which has been developed with the support of teachers and other leading governing bodies, with the goal of providing students with a safe, anonymous environment to report and resolve their concerns discretely.
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