Year 6 children from across the partnership are taking part in Mental Health Workshops to learn about what it means to be mentally healthy, how they can improve their mental health and how they can deal with stress.

They are learning that being healthy includes their physical, mental and social health and that if they are in a healthy state of wellbeing then they will:

  • Realise their own abilities
  • Cope with the normal stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Be able to contribute to the communities around them

They are also discovering more about part of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response – stress. They look at what can cause it, including pressure from other people, fear and uncertainty about something that might happen in the future, conflict with other people or frustration in ourselves if we can’t achieve what we want to.

They are finding out that stress can have a positive impact because it can make them more alert, help boost their memory and help them solve problems. They also identify the negative symptoms stress can cause – excessive worry, problems sleeping and feeling sick.

The key messages they are exploring are useful for everyone so here are our 5 top tips for looking after yourself and dealing with stress.

Do Plenty of Physical Activity

Taking part in physical activity can help the body to reduce levels of stress hormones called cortisol and increase levels of feel good hormones called endorphins. It can also give our minds something else to think about, tire us out and have fun with other people – all things that will ultimately help us to relax!

Eat and Drink the Right Things

We all know that we should eat a balanced diet to help keep us physically healthy but it can also help with our mental health. It can help stabilise our mood, boost our brain function and give us the energy we need to tackle everyday tasks. Drinking plenty of water also helps our brains to concentrate as well as balancing our mood and emotion. If we drink too much caffeine this can over-stimulate our brain and make some of the negative symptoms of stress worse.

Take Breaks and Get Plenty of Rest

It’s important not to spend all of our time doing things that we find challenging or difficult. Our body and minds need time to switch off and relax.

Find Ways to Relax

There are plenty of things we can do to relax, whether that’s doing a fun activity or something more focused like stretching or breathing exercises.

Doing stretching exercises that help our muscles to stretch and relax can also help to make us feel better. Breathing deeply is a really simple way to relax – counting to 5 as you breathe in and then to 5 again as you breathe out. This can be repeated several times to calm down or to help getting to sleep.

Avoid Blue Light Before Bed

Studies show that if we look at screens and devices before bed then it can keep our brains active for a lot longer after the lights go out, particularly if we use them close to our eyes. We should avoid looking at our phones and tablets before bed and instead find other activities to help us relax such as reading a book.

 

There is a range of information and resources available as part of Children’s Mental Health Week which takes place from 4-10th February. To find out more, visit the website.

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