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Developing a balanced sense of self

This sounds quite tricky – but it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Rather than setting your expectations sky high and working towards perfection, this is about realising that there is no such thing as ‘the perfect person’ and that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Society puts a lot of pressure on people, especially young people, and sometimes that leads us to forget about the little things that make us unique, because we’re so busy trying to meet someone else’s standards.

You could try making a list of things you like about yourself, and asking your friends to help if you get stuck. Some people find that it helps to say kind, positive things to themselves in the mirror in the mornings before they leave the house. You can also find information on improving self-esteem on the NHS website.

If you struggle with your mental health or have a mental health diagnosis, you might find it useful to remember that there is lots more to you than that, and that your personality and individual qualities are different to your moods or behaviours:

'My mental health is not me, it’s just a part of me. At the end of the day, a diagnosis is just a sheet of paper. It doesn’t define me or mean that everything I do is because of that.'

In this video created for our #MoreThanMyMH campaign, Young Champion Amy contrasts some of the ways people may have perceived with the positive qualities she would prefer to be seen as:

What young people have told us:

'It took me over five years to be able to do this but it is so liberating to be able to accept who you are... Now 5 or so years later I've accepted my alternative taste in music and the fact that i don't have to wear a skirt to fit... You need to remember that your illness (mental or physical) doesn't make you weird. It makes you different, but everyone is different.'

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.