Everyone has mental health, yet for some reason lots of us tend not not to talk about it. During these unprecedented times, it is really important to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit.
Here are some ideas and links for you to use.
Mentally Healthy Schools (Anna Freud Centre)
The Anna Freud Centre has published a range of resources to help support the mental health of children, young people, school staff and parents. The third toolkit in the series has just been released. You can find them here:
Coronavirus: Resources for mental health and well-being
- a booklet to support schools
- videos to provide practical guidance and tips to schools, parents and carers about coronavirus (COVID-19) and mental health
- activities to ease anxiety that can be done at school or at home and other helpful advice, helplines and resources for adults and children.
- resources for staff wellbeing
- resources to help children with SEND and
- responding to the unique challenges that may arise for vulnerable children
- resources for school staff, as well as parents, to use with vulnerable children or children with SEND,
- a resource from Stonewall for the LGBTQ+ community, and
- a resource pack for staff wellbeing and practical activities for adults and children to help stay mentally well during this time.
Sleep is really important to maintain a healthy mind.
Children aged three to five years need 11 – 12 hours sleep a night. Those aged six to ten years need 10 – 11 hours sleep a night.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine that lasts no more than half an hour.
- Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime and lower the lighting in the house.
- If your child is anxious, read stories about characters who overcome these worries (e.g. about the dark) during the daytime. Talk to them about what they are looking forward to tomorrow. Give them something of yours (e.g. a t-shirt) to have in bed.
- Put relaxing music or an audio book on as they go to sleep.
- If they are having difficulty getting to sleep, or have got into the habit of late bedtimes, start by scheduling bedtime for when they would usually go to sleep and move it back very slowly (e.g. 15 mins earlier every few days).
- For children who are reluctant to stay in bed, try sitting with them as they fall asleep and then gradually, over a number of weeks, moving further away each night and eventually out of the room.
Teenagers and Adults
School-aged teenagers need 9 – 9 ½ hours sleep a night. 99.9% of adults need 8 hours sleep a night.
- Wake up at the same time every day (or as close to this as possible).
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon/ evening, as far as possible. It takes around 8 hours for caffeine to leave your body. Caffeine and alcohol affect the quality of everyone’s sleep, even if you drink them regularly!
- Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime and lower the lighting in the house (e.g. by using lamps instead of the ceiling light).
- Charge phones in another room or put them on ‘airplane mode’ if this isn’t possible.
- Before bed, make a note of something that has gone well that day. Write down any worries or a ‘To Do’ list.
- Put relaxing music, an audio book, or a guided relaxation recording on whilst going to sleep.
- Don’t lie awake in bed. If you find yourself lying in bed awake for more than 20 mins, get up and do a relaxing activity.