Watching YouTube, TV or Films

Some people find doing something like watching YouTube videos, TV series of films really helps them to relax or keep distracted when they are struggling.

There are a few ways they talked about finding this helpful:

  • Watching comedy/something funny to keep distracted from difficult thoughts or feelings
  • If you’re feeling sad, watching a soppy film, or angry watching an action film. Sometimes allowing yourself to feel the emotion you are experiencing and even having a good cry can be really therapeutic.
  • Watching a video that is the complete opposite of how you are feeling to cheer you up or give you a break for a bit. For example, if you are feeling sad watching a horror film or if you are feeling anxious watching a romantic film.

You can find recommendations on films for free on IMDB and there are a lot of good playlists and compilations on YouTube like this one (because who doesn’t love a funny pets video?). 

What young people have told us:

'By watching something you really enjoy, you can escape for reality for a bit. All of your focus is on that and it can help to calm you down or make you laugh!'

'Laughter is the best medicine- so find something funny!'

''I would recommend this but it is important to remember not to spend all your time on this. study too'

'Don't feel bad for taking time out in your day to watch your favourite tv show, film or video. If it's what will help you feel better in yourself, then that's a good, important thing!'

'It helps relax because it's just me and no-one else.'

'It helps you escape from reality and connect to characters which may not be real but still make you feel for.'


There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.

Did this activity help your mental wellbeing?

If yes, why do you think it helped?

What would you say to other young people who are thinking of trying this?

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