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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
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Blogs

Going back to school

Blog by: Sophie Smith

Going back to school is always a daunting time, whether your moving from high school to college or college to university or simply going into a new year. However, it’s so important to remember that, everyone is feeling a range of emotions, and it’s helpful to balance out the negative and positives. For example: moving from high school to college…Unfamiliar environment, people and new responsibilities, but, a start of a new chapter, creating a future for yourself and a chance to meet new friends and yourself.

In school, take every opportunity possible that is given to you, it’s so worth it in the end (believe me!) and having the perfect hair, body or bag does not determine you as a pupil. And my major tip for going back to school is that all that, if  your doing your best that’s all anyone can ask of you and a  grade result does not determine your future.

Tips for night before school

  • Get a good night sleep
  • Organise your clothes/ uniform the night before
  • Make sure you’ve packed your bag/lunch
  • Take some time out for yourself to relax and have some YOU time


 

Youth Consulter Age: 19.  Some Tips to Support your Mental Health:

When I feel very down or depressed, I have often been advised by both my friends and family and professionals to talk to someone I trust about it; it’s not healthy to keep everything bottled up. Although I agree with this, I also feel as though this the ‘go to’ advice for everyone in this situation however for many, including myself, talking can be the last thing you feel like doing. When I am at a very low point, I go into a state in which I prefer not to speak much, I isolate myself and it seems next to impossible to have a regular conversation let alone talk about how I am feeling. I am not sure what causes me to feel like this as sometimes I feel comfortable talking about how I am feeling but there are times when that is just not possible for me. This is just my reason for not always expressing my emotions verbally, a sort of personal coping mechanism have adopted, although I am aware that people’s reasons for not speaking expressively vary greatly from lack of someone they trust or their availability to fear of stigma.

Whatever your reason, I have a few ways that could help you during these times without having to pour out your feelings verbally. Talking can often be helpful and is a fundamental part of getting through low points in our lives but I have found a few short term alternatives to this as I feel that these may help some people who have found themselves in a similar situation to myself as I have found that we are never alone. Not everyone is the same so it is unlikely all of the following will be of help to you however they are worth trying if you don’t always find it possible or helpful to ‘just talk to someone you trust’.

  1. If you like expressing yourself in other ways such as dancing, drawing, singing, writing you could try this activity either as a distraction or as a way of getting out your feelings more privately. Also this technique will help boost self-esteem as the activity will be something you likely enjoy, are good at and have previously associated with happiness and satisfaction.
  2. Light exercise releases stress and produce endorphins (chemicals that help you feel happier). Even a few minutes of movement are proven to help lift moods and put things into perspective a bit better.
  3. If you seek advice but don’t feel like speaking, you could write down how you feel on a text, letter or journal and then decide if you want to show someone. This way you may feel like just getting your emotions on paper is enough but showing someone you trust may help them understand better what they can do to help and what you are going through without them interrupting or making presumptions if you took a more conversational approach. It also will give others time to process how you are feeling which could lead to them being able to help you more effectively as opposed to just acting on first instinct.
  4. Also, there are many anonymous blogs online for all types of mental health problems such as low mood to self-esteem to anxiety. You can talk to people on the internet without having to speak about loud who are going through similar emotions to you. These blogs and forums should be safe environments that can be particularly helpful if you feel no one you know in real life understands you properly.
  5. Distract yourself with a movie, a book or even homework to take your mind off your troubles. Whilst completely ignoring your negative thoughts will just cause them to return later, but temporality isolating your mind from them may allow you to put thigs into perspective a bit better later on.
  6. Look after yourself. Do something you love e.g. eating a huge bar of chocolate or have a bubble bath. At times like this, you may feel that you don’t deserve to enjoy anything but the opposite is the truth. At times when your mood is lowest, you are most desperately in need of self-care and indulgence. Take care of yourself as if you would your best friend.
  7. When one of these techniques or anything else helps your low mood even just a little, write it down or record it somewhere. You can create a toolbox of things that are proven to help you that you can return to if you go back to a low mood state. Even if they don’t have the entire desired effect, they cannot make it any worse.

All these ideas will not be helpful to everyone but hopefully a few of them are. It is important to remember that although we all cope with and deal with mental health in different ways, you are never alone. If you want to talk about it, there will be someone who can relate and help you. But, if you don’t feel like talking, as long as you are safe, this is perfectly fine sometimes too.



How Sport Helped me Keep my Mental Health in Check

Patient Story 30.10.18.  Age 16. 

I was referred to Camhs services because I had struggled to speak for a long time and realised it was because of social anxieties.  I found that being able to talk to someone about it and how I felt was really helpful and it made me realise I could do something about it.

I joined a 6-week cognitive behavioural group (CBT) and this made me realise how other people also go through similar things and have similar problems. The focus was on doing practical things to help my anxiety, it wasn’t about looking at the past.   Many of the small things I learnt such as squared breathing, made me take a step back and look at my anxiety differently.

It was difficult putting the CBT into practice to begin with.  For example, asking for something would normally make me anxious but now with the training, I had to go through a process which I needed to practice over time which did help but took a long time and effort.

I would notice my anxiety get worse when I returned to school and in fact, my anxiety has always mainly been around school.  I had felt awkward for 2-3 years, but outside of school it was always easier. But after the CBT training, I started to notice the impact of this and was able to deal with school better.  It’s not completely solved, I am still working on it but people now see me differently and I am able to interact with people more easily.  I can now get more done and it gives me a chance to realise more of my ambitions.

What Advice Would You give Others Experiencing the Same Thing?

Anxiety isn’t all bad. It is part of your own mental health, you can use it to your advantage too.  For instance, I took up sports such as Olympic Weightlifting.  I feel I have been able to compete at such high levels, becoming a British Champion and looking to achieve international honours next year representing GBR, because I know and understand anxiety and know that I can handle it. Even though all anyone is looking at in these situations is me, but I am able to ignore this and I don’t waste time getting worried about anxiety in those situations.

It’s been the same with rugby as over the last year I have put my energy into playing for my school’s 1st XV, my club, the North Midlands and academy for Worcester Warriors. 

Sport has given me the chance to realise that anxiety doesn’t dominate as much of me as I once thought.  I didn’t want anxiety to define me and I think through sport and CBT it doesn’t.



Worcester Happiest City?  By Youth Consulter.

Tom Jones

I’ve lived in Worcester all my life, from my first breathe in this world right up to the minute I started typing this. Life here has always been safe and secure; nothing ever dangerous was apparent. But why would it? We have beautiful fields, the race course, the Cathedral, the Hive, and the Malvern Hills standing tall above us. Plus, not forgetting we have the River Severn.

I remember as a little child I would play in the fountains next to the river. Ice cream would be covered over all the children’s faces, the sun would beam brightly on us and the water would twinkle and shimmer towards us. Worcester can feel like it’s the greatest place in world sometimes. Sixteen years and that thought still appears at moments in my life.

However this year, the year Worcester was voted the happiest city, I feel that this thought may be fading away. Tom Jones. Tom Jones has become famous in Worcester. Everywhere I turn I am caught being stared at by the vast numbers of posters of him. What one night can change to not only one life but to several others.

The bridge doesn’t feel the same, the River doesn’t hold that magnificent glow it once had. Life is precious and we have all learnt that. We cannot blame Worcester for this. Worcester was and still is safe and secure; we just may need to look harder for that shine I used to see.