Taking care of yourself

Staying healthy is important for everyone but when you are not feeling well it is easy to let the basics such as eating, sleeping and keeping active slip. Having a healthy lifestyle helps to improve your energy levels, helps you think more clearly and helps build your confidence and overall sense of wellbeing. Setting yourself some small achievable goals is also really helpful to your recovery.

YBB-Illustration-eat healthy

Healthy diet

What you eat not only affects your physical health; it affects your energy levels and the way you think and feel about yourself. Try to eat regular healthy meals, limit fatty, sugary treats and drink lots of water.

Keep active

Being physically active improves your strength, fitness and confidence. Keeping active can help you to sleep better while also improving your ability to manage intense emotions, like anger or fear. Find something you enjoy doing and make an effort to do it regularly, such as team sports, going to the local gym, walking the dog, swimming, running, surfing and dancing. Consider exercising with a friend to make it more fun and to help you stay motivated.



Reduce stress

There are some simple things that you can learn to do to cope better with stress. Avoid making big decisions when stressed. Connect with people to feel a sense of belonging. Talk openly with your friends and family about how you feel. Get organised and manage your time – make a list of things you need to do and prioritise. Learn to relax. This might be listening to music or going for a run, or you might benefit from meditating, or doing guided relaxation using an app like Smiling Mind.

You can also visit theDesk, an online program which gives you great advice and tools for managing school work and stress.

Avoid or limit alcohol and drug use

Drug use has negative effects on how you feel and what you think – even if the short-term effects are appealing. 

Consider what else you can do when you feel like using drugs or alcohol; do something you enjoy, call a friend to talk about it, go for a run or listen to music. Hang out with friends who do not drink alcohol or use drugs. 

Think about whether you need help with changing your drug and alcohol use. Drug and alcohol counsellors are available to see face-to-face or you can contact them by phone to talk about your use.

If you are going to continue drinking and using drugs, consider how you can do this more safely. Health professionals and doctors can advise you on minimising the risks related to using drugs and alcohol.


Develop a regular sleeping pattern

Sleep is important for our bodies to recover and recharge. Without it, it can be hard to concentrate and remember things. Without sleep you will also have problems with your energy levels. To develop a regular sleeping pattern it is useful to:

  • get up at the same time each morning
  • avoid too much caffeine or alcohol late in the afternoon
  • write your worries down before going to bed so you can work on some solutions the next day
  • do something relaxing for about 30 minutes before going to bed
  • avoid naps in the day
  • get up after 15-20 minutes if you can’t sleep rather than staying in bed feeling restless – return to bed when you feel more relaxed and sleepy
  • get active every day.

Hobbies, work, school and university

Having things to do that are both interesting and rewarding can significantly improve your mood. Keeping linked in with work, university and school also provides you with a sense of purpose and confidence. These activities also offer connections with others that you can enjoy or rely on when stressed.


Strengthening relationships

Friends, family and your community are a really important part of your health and wellbeing. These relationships are a great source of fun and support but they can also be stressful at times. Remember that all relationships have ups and downs, so try not to let difficult times get you down.

Simple relaxation technique

Relax by learning to control your breathing

  1. gently breathe in and hold your breath for five seconds
  2. breathe out counting to five, then breathe in and out slowly, through your nose, counting to three with each breath in and out
  3. breathe this way for about 10 breaths then start at step 1 again until you are calm
  4. practice this when you are not anxious so that you can use it quickly when you feel your anxiety increasing.