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Small habits that can benefit your mental health

4 min read
08 December 2020

Establishing a routine

Laura, 21

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.

I aim to create an adaptable routine as it’s important to understand that each day will not always go to plan.
Laura, 21

Laura, 21, shares her tips for creating a routine if you're self-isolating, or during the COVID-19 pandemic in general.

Tips for creating a routine during self-isolation

Practising gratitude

Lauren, 21

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.

Each morning when I wake up, I think of five things I am grateful for.
Lauren, 21

Rachel, 17, shares how she practises mindfulness to improve her mental health.

How I practise mindfulness to improve my mental health

Keeping a journal

Lauren, 19

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.

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.
Lauren, 19

Checking in with myself

Laura, 21

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.

I like to write my feelings down each morning to ensure that I continue my day with a clear and decluttered mindset.
Laura, 21

More information and advice

We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.

Where to get help

However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.

  • YoungMinds Textline

    Text YM to 85258.

    Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

    All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

    Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

    Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • The Mix

    Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

    Free short-term counselling service available.

    Opening times:
    3pm - 12am, seven days a week
  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:
    24/7

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