Self-care is about the things we can do to look after our own mental health
The Anna Freud Centre found out from young people that when they are struggling they are usually told to see a professional. They don’t often get much advice about how they could help themselves.
So after consulting with professionals reviewing academic research, they drew up a list of strategies young people use.
We’re sharing these strategies with you to help you to manage your wellbeing. It’s up to you to decide what helps. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, stop and try something else. And you can help us build an evidence-base for these activities by letting us know what works by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help your mental wellbeing’ button on each page. This will help us decide which ones to research further.
These activities are not a substitute for seeing a mental health professional. Sometimes we need outside help and advice. Getting help is good. No-one should feel bad about it. That’s what this site is about.
- Acceptance / Alone time / Apps delivering self-help strategies /
- Aromatherapy and fragrance / ASMR /Avoiding certain foods
- Baking & cooking / Being outside /Board games / Books & Reading
- Challenge negative feelings / Chinese herbal medicine / Coding
- Colour therapy / Confronting your fears /Crafting / Creative writing
- Crying / Dance / Daydreaming & Visualisation/
- Developing a balanced sense of self / Distraction techniques / Drama
- Drawing or painting / Ecotherapy / Email support /
- Face-to-face informal support / Faith and religion / Gaming
- Getting a job / Goal-setting /Going on day trips or holiday
- Going to the cinema / Herbal/plant-based remedies
- Homeopathy preparations / Hope box / Laughter / humour
- Letting off steam / Light therapy/ Listening to music
- Little actions to release tension/ Making music
- Massage / Meditation /Mindfulness /Noticing your triggers
- Online chat or peer group support / Organise your day
- Over the counter medications /Personal care & hygiene
- Physical exercise /Pilates/ Playing /Positive thinking
- Problem solving / Psychic intuition /Psychoeducation
- Reducing consumption of stimulants and other drugs
- Relaxation techniques /Revision /Rewards
- Self-talk /Shopping /Sleep /Spending time in nature
- Spending time with animals / pets /Spending time with friends
- Spending time with supportive people /Spiritual healing
- Sport /Tai Chi & Qigong /Telephone support
- Text message support/ Thinking about things /
- Time away from technology /
- Understanding negative thoughts and feelings
- Unsupported online, computer or app-based CBT
- Virtual reality therapy courses /Volunteering & taking care of others
- Walking / Warm bath / Watching YouTube, TV or Films
- Water therapy / Writing things down/ Yoga
Source On My Mind: Self-care strategies for young people with anxiety or depression Developed by The Common Room and young people from mental health support group Hearts & Minds.