Youth and Mental Health 101

Building resilience


This has been adapted from "Game Changers: Self-care information."

Self-care means taking time to do things that you enjoy or that make you feel better. It can include activities you normally do or new hobbies and activities. Self-care activities can help you cope with stress, depression, anxiety and other challenges. Below are some examples of ways you can practise self-care.1

healthy sleep

Healthy sleep

Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you find this hard, try avoiding caffeine later in the day, creating a bedtime routine and using a blue light filter on your screens an hour or two before bed.

mother and daughter making salad

Healthy eating

Try not to skip meals. Try to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit less healthy foods to three servings per week if you can. Try to drink up to eight glasses of water a day. Adapt foods to your own culture and to what is locally available.

father and son canoeing

Physical fitness

Try to do some regular exercise that gets your heart pumping. You could go for a fast walk or a bike ride. Another option could be joining a gym, or working out at home using an exercise app.

young male on cell phone

Watch your technology use

Try to be aware of the time you spend on technology. Think about which kinds of technology use make you feel better and are part of your self-care, and which might be working against it. The amount of time you spend using technology can also affect your mental health. If you feel overwhelmed by technology or social media, try taking a break or limit how long you want to be on it for the week and see if that is helpful.

father and son doing yoga


Try to take time each day to intentionally relax. Experiment with different relaxation techniques to see what works best for you. Relaxing can be as simple as enjoying a calm walk, taking a bath, reading a book, colouring or listening to relaxing music. Slow, deep breaths (breathe in, hold, breathe out) can also help you relax. Or you might try muscle relaxation. This is done by clenching different muscles as tight as possible, and as you relax them, picturing your tension disappearing. YouTube and many apps can help you with relaxation, meditation and mindfulness.

young boy writing in journal


Sometimes writing things down can help ground your thoughts. Try taking five minutes before you go to bed to think and write about the events of your day. For example, you could list three things from each day that you are thankful for, or personal strengths that you drew upon today.

Teen girl making a list in a book

Time management

Taking a few minutes to plan out your day or make a to-do list can remove uncertainty and allow you to focus on getting tasks completed. Try having a calendar in your room or using your cellphone calendar to put any important events that will be coming up.

teens biking

Fun activities

Try taking time to do more activities that you enjoy. Some examples are seeing a movie with a friend, reading a book, baking or cooking, painting, joining a club or sport, taking a class you enjoy or listening to music.

mother and son hugging


Try to spend time with family, friends or other support networks. You can also try connecting to things that give you support, meaning and enjoyment, such as participating in different cultural activities or prayer, if this helps with your health and happiness.

young girl talking to counsellor

Talking about it

Try talking to other people about things that might be bothering you. If there is no one you are comfortable sharing things with, you could try talking to a therapist (available through many different agencies). It may take time to feel open to doing this, so another option is to use anonymous phone support services, which can be found in the resources section of this tutorial.

1. CAMH, 2018f

Youth and Mental Health 101 © , CAMH.