Mental Wellness – Maintenance and Strategies (1/2)

Published on August 20, 2020

Last month we published our Youth Mental Wellness Guide, where youth learn how to maintain their mental wellness during these current challenging times.  In this two part series, we will provide actionable tips and strategies to add to any wellness plan, these items that can be done day to day to maintain and improve mental health.

Maintain your supportive relationships and networks

Friends, family, teachers, mentors, pastors, these are important people that help us when we’re stressed or need someone to confide in. Unfortunately 2020 has made it difficult for us to see anyone, let alone people in our support networks. So what can we do? Being disconnected from these support networks can be devastating to our mental health but there are ways we can maintain and reach out to our supportive relationships!

For folx who are sheltered with roommates and family:

Spend quality time with the roommates and family that are sheltered with you by disconnecting from media and electronics and play board games, make art, dance, cook or read together. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s time together.

For folx who are outside of your home/shelter space:

Remain in touch with your mentors, friends, and family (outside of your home) virtually by internet, phone, or text. Stay connected to your community- or faith-based organizations virtually through apps like Zoom, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live. You can even write a letter or send a postcard, everyone loves mail, especially when it’s a letter from friends and family.

These people and communities in our support network play an important role in maintaining our mental health, and even if we can’t physically see or interact with most of them. Stay connected with them, and maintain those relationships.

How to connect with others when you can’t be face-to-face:

– Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.)
– Communication Apps (Zoom, Whatsapp, Messenger, Skype)
– Calling over the phone on a cellphone, landline, or google phone
– Texting
– Online Multiplayer Video Gaming
– Write a physical letter or postcard

Another support network that youth and families can utilize 24/7 is our California Youth Crisis Line. Our volunteer crisis counselors are available via call and text at 800-843-5200 or by online chat at Youth, families, and adults supporting youth, can reach out and talk about anything, whether they need access to resources and services in their area or just need someone to talk to.

Physical Activity

Body and mind have a mutually beneficial relationship. Usually when one is out of sync with another we feel the negative effects it has on our stress levels, our energy, and our overall mental health. So when you’re able to do any physical activity, not only does your body feel the positive effects but your mental wellness can be positively effected to! The goal is to engage in at least 60-minutes of physical activity every day and it doesn’t have to be all at once. A lot of us have busy schedules or other responsibilities that keep us from committing to a full hour of physical activity. Our solution? Do it in bursts, a few minutes here and there, and before you know it you’ll hit your 60-minute goal and feel better for it. Get your body moving and your heart rate up to burn-off the excess energy caused by stress.

Here are a few ideas on physical activities you can do throughout the day:

– Have a dance party in your bedroom
– Do 35 jumping jacks throughout the day;
– Have 20-minute hula-hooping contests;
– Go on a power walk or run around your block;
– Do bedtime yoga;
– Do 10 push-ups;
– Film a TikTok;
– Jump rope;
– And more!

Healthy Amount of Sleep

This may be challenging right now but get sufficient high-quality sleep. It seems really basic but sleep is powerful. Studies have shown that getting between 7-to-9 hours of sleep for adults and 8-to-10 hours for youth can improve memory, decrease stress, improve health, and even increase serotonin levels in your brain! All of these benefits allow an overall increase in our mental health. Sleep is good.

Tips to get a healthy amount of sleep:

– Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day;
– Turn off electronics at least a half hour before bed;
– Drink warm water or hot “sleepy-time” tea;
– Read a leisurely book in bed;
– Avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening;
– Make sure your sleeping area is cool, quiet, and distraction-free



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