Establishing a routine
Creating a routine helps me with my mental health. I aim to plan for the day ahead so I know what my focus is for each day. Specifically, I aim to create an adaptable routine as it’s important to understand that each day will not always go to plan.
This routine will include a range of tasks, including getting ready, my university work, scheduling the following day and having some time to relax. Personally, I think it’s important to schedule in ‘small’ and ‘big’ tasks as both are achievements to be celebrated.
Laura, 21, shares her tips for creating a routine if you're self-isolating, or during the COVID-19 pandemic in general.
One small habit that I have found really helps my mental health on a day-to-day basis is practising gratitude. I used to think practising gratitude was a huge thing that needed a lot of time and attention out of my day, however it is so important to realise that this is not the case.
Each morning when I wake up, I think of five things I am grateful for. I either write them down physically on paper, jot them down in the notes app on my phone, or simply think of them in my head. This doesn’t need to be a big, time consuming event, as long as you understand the things you choose to focus on.
By doing this daily, it makes you really take a moment out and think about the things in life that you are thankful for, whether that be a friend, or simply that you are able to move your body. When I think of what I am grateful for, it allows me to start my day on a positive note and encourages me to purposefully look out and appreciate what I am grateful for throughout the day.
Rachel, 17, shares how she practises mindfulness to improve her mental health.
Keeping a journal
One small habit that has really made a positive impact on my mental health is journaling. I have challenged myself to fill in at least one journal page a day. Journal pages can be about any topic you want. Examples include things you are grateful for, things that make you smile, events that have happened that day or things you are worried about. There are so many topics you can write about, but it definitely doesn’t have to be presented in a neat way - it’s just a way of scribbling all of your feelings onto a page.
Remember that the journal pages are your own, so you can personalise them in any way that you like, with quotes you’ve read or drawings! Giving yourself time at the end of the day to write down and process your emotions can be really useful and can help you become more aware of how you feel at certain times. Sometimes you might be able to pick out patterns in your journal entries of events or situations that make you feel happy, so it might even challenge you to do these things more often.
Checking in with myself
Particularly during this time with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to check in on your family and friends; however, it’s also necessary to assess how you’re feeling too.
Each morning, I mentally check in with myself to assess my mindset for the day ahead. This habit enables me to recognise my feelings, which helps me to better manage my emotions throughout the day. Also, I like to write my feelings down each morning to ensure that I continue my day with a clear and decluttered mindset.
Where to get help
If you are struggling with your mental health, you're not alone. For tips, advice and information on where you can get support with whatever you're going through, have a look at our find help page.