Surviving and Thriving – things to try that may help

Please seek help from a professional or a support organisation if you find you are struggling.
King Edward VI Foundation Birmingham are not responsible for the content of the resources linked from these pages


Understanding what influences your mental health and wellbeingPDF from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust which aims to help you to

  • note important events or relationships
  • consider what may set off difficulties
  • understand what the key mental health issues are
  • recognise your personal strengths and the support around you
  • find out what can help or hinder your day to day wellbeing
  • look at ways forward and next steps: What would help you to make changes?

Self-care and support

Self-care tips to help protect against stressPoster with simple steps to try from Mental Health First Aid England.
Things we can do to look after our own mental healthAnna Freud Centre strategies with you to help you to manage your wellbeing.  It’s up to you to decide what helps.  If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, stop and try something else.
Self-care tips
Maintaining good well-being whilst in
lockdown: Sleep
Find out about sleep and the links to wellbeing: slides from Birmingham Education Partnership (direct link to download).
Relaxation techniquesNHS library of audio files to help relieve stress and gain a sense of well-being.
Maintaining good well-being whilst in lockdown: ActivityFind out about staying active and the links to wellbeing: slides from Birmingham Education Partnership (direct link to download).
Improving wellbeing: A self-study course for studentsWell-being sessions to do at your own pace from Dr Iro Konstantinou at The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning (CIRL) (8 x 10 minute sessions).

Breathing and Grounding

Breathing TechniquesTechniques from Mindful Healthcare:


  • Start at the bottom right of the square
  • Breathe in for four counts as you trace the first side of the square
  • Hold your breath for four counts as you trace the second side of the square
  • Breathe out for four counts as you trace the third side of the square
  • Hold your breath for four counts as you trace the final side of the square
  • You just completed one deep breath!


  • Pretend your hands and arms are like lava flowing from a volcano.
  • Start with your hands in front of your heart, with palms touching.
  • Keeping your hands together, reach straight up and breathe in.
  • Separate your hands and move your arms down to your side and breathe out.


Breathe in and imagine a calm, happy, positive colour. Breathe out and imagine a colour that represents stress, anxiety, etc. leaving your body.


Count to 10 breathing in and out on each second. 1 = breathe in, 2 = breathe out, 3 = breathe in, 4 = breathe out and continue to 10……


Imagine a pair of smelly socks! Take a big sniff in of the smelly socks & then a BIG breathe out releasing all the air from your lungs.

Deep breathing with your bodyBreathing exercises created for children, but many of which can help young people and adults too.
Grounding techniquesWorksheet from Therapist Aid describing four skills for controlling intense emotional experiences and regaining mental focus. Grounding techniques work by focusing attention on the present moment, and bringing attention back to reality.
Focal BreathingOften, stress is a result of a lack of oxygen. This exercise focuses on breathing and optimizing oxygen intake on every breath.

  • Start by exhaling all the air in your lungs.
  • Exhale slowly for ten seconds.
  • Then, keep exhaling until you feel your lungs are completely empty.
  • Breathe in through the nose to a count of eight.
  • Keep your shoulders down and focus on filling your rib cage.
  • As you feel it expand, start to push down into your abdomen.
  • You should feel your lower body expand and near the end, pressure in your lower back as your diaphragm lowers.
  • Exhale slowly, focusing your breathing by shaping your lips in an ooh position.
  • Pretend there is a candle in front of your mouth that you are trying to blow out.

Focusing on this type of breathing will help to focus your mind as well as work to re-oxygenate your blood and reenergize your body.

Grounding Techniques & Self Soothing for Emotional Regulation
Blog with many things to try from Eddins Counseling Group. Grounding techniques are useful when we feel distressed, overwhelmed emotionally, triggered or mentally removed from the present moment.
Using Grounding Techniques During Covid-19Practical guidance for using grounding techniques during Covid-19 from the Traumatic Stress Clinic, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.


Why start a journal? –  Jade Angeles Fitton gives 10 reasons on TEEN Breathe

Templates you can use:

Other resources

Getting to know each other
better during quarantine
Ideas to help you get on with family and those you live with from Mental Health UK’s Boost.
Life after lockdown: Your Wellbeing Action PlanDesigned to help people returning to work but equally applicable to school from Charlie Waller Trust.
Can your food change your mood?BBC Two examine the scientific links between food and wellbeing.
Positivity Passport Jan 2021Noting the effect of activities on your mood
DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills: The Guide to Healthy RelationshipsTHINK was developed to reduce negative emotions toward others. It is designed to be helpful when interpersonal problems arise and you’re feeling upset.

Getting help

Asking for help: When it’s time to talk about your mental healthAdvice from the Charlie Waller Trust to help take the big step of asking for help when you need it.
The MeeTwo teenage app – making it easy to talk about difficult things
The MeeTwo app allows you to talk anonymously about difficult things with other people of a similar age or experience. You can get help with your problems or use your experiences to help others.
List of helplines