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Listening to your body

It is easy to think about our physical health as being separate to our mental health but in reality they are very much connected and one can impact the other.  So, just as you might need to give your body a rest if you have a cold or injure yourself, if you are stressed, anxious or feeling down it can sometimes present as physical symptoms including loss of energy, tension or aches in the body, stomach problems, difficulties concentrating and sleep problems.  

Sometimes, it can be really hard to know if how you are feeling is caused by a physical ailment or by psychological distress so we would always recommend that you speak to your GP and let them know how you are feeling, both physically and mentally.  You might find it hard to speak about how you’re feeling, so you could always write down what you’d like to share beforehand or take a trusted friend or family member who is aware of how you’re feeling, who can speak on your behalf if you don’t feel able or comfortable discussing how you’re feeling.  Your GP can then assess whether your symptoms may be due to your mental health and offer advice or suggest a referral if needed.

You may find the following self-care strategies helpful depending on your physical symptoms:

Avoiding certain foods has advice on how a healthy, balanced diet can affect your body and mood.

Being outside, physical exercise, including dancing or walking, may help your energy levels even if its just dancing in your room to your favourite music.

Meditation, mindfulness and relaxation techniques may help centre yourself and reduce stress and anxiety.

Writing things down, organising your day and setting realistic goals may help your concentration and prioritise your week so that you can manage your energy levels.

And finally, don’t underestimate the importance of sleep and trying to maintain a good sleep routine. 


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.