Looking after yourself
Many people seeking asylum feel very stressed. You may feel angry, upset, anxious, ashamed, sad, confused or disturbed by memories. It can be hard to sleep, and hard to feel calm after you have talked about your situation. If you live through painful experiences it is normal to be affected like this.
Most people can feel better in time.
There are various things that can help.
Things that can help
Here are some simple things that can help. If you are feeling bad, you may not feel like doing them, but they are still important for your wellbeing.
These things will help most if you keep doing them.
Look after your body
Eat and drink water regularly, even if you do not feel you want to. Keep active. See a doctor if you are concerned about your health.
You may find sleep very difficult but it can help a lot to learn good sleep habits. Some habits that help are: getting up at the same time every day; avoiding sleeping in the day time; avoiding caffeine. There is more information here.
Stay physically active
Going for a walk, doing other kinds of exercise, and being outside in nature can really help. Try to do some kind of exercise every day.
Connect with other people
Try to spend time with other people when you can, perhaps watching TV, eating or going out together.
Learn calming exercises
such as breathing exercises, relaxation, mindfulness exercises or butterfly hugs. Many people find these useful. You could try the breathing exercise below. Or you could try another exercise you already know. You can find other exercises on YouTube or you could use the mindfulness app Headspace.
from thinking too much. Spending time with friends and being active can help take your mind off memories and worries.
Get to know at least one refugee organisation that can help you .
A breathing exercise
- Find a comfortable position
- Breathe in through your nose while you count steadily from 1 to 5. Let your breath flow into your belly. Don’t worry if you can’t get to 5 at first.
- Now breathe out through your mouth while you count from 1 to 5.
- Keep doing this for at least three minutes.
Talking about how you feel
It can help to talk to someone you like and trust, for example a friend, relative, foster carer or someone else supporting you.
Sharing your worries with someone can be hard but it also often helps.
If you don’t feel you can speak to anyone you know, there are services that can help. Your GP will know what is available in your local area. If you are in touch with a refugee support group, they may also be able to help. If you are a young person there are safe online forums like The Mix and Young Minds Crisis Messenger where you can text to ask for help.
You can also speak to your GP about how you are feeling. This can be extremely hard, but your GP will be used to hearing from people who are very distressed.
Services that can help
(These are free of charge)
• Your GP will know what is available in your local area.
• Samaritans Phone 116 123 to speak to a trained volunteer. You can ask for an interpreter.
• Boloh helpline Phone 0800 151 2605 for free online advice, emotional support and therapeutic support. Advisers and therapists speak a range of different languages and have access to interpreters. For more information or to use webchat – Boloh Helplines (barnardos.org.uk)
• Solace can offer support to those living in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Solace (solace-uk.org.uk)
Additional services for young people
(These are free of charge)
• Young Minds Text YM to 85258. A trained volunteer will text you back
• Childline www.childline.org.uk. Try the ‘Get support’ tab. Or phone 0800 1111
• The Mix www.themix.org.uk Try the ‘Get support’ tab. Or phone 0808 808 4994
If you feel really bad
If you feel really unhappy or agitated, are experiencing very disturbed sleep or many more nightmares, then it is especially important to ask for help.
If you are thinking about dying, do not keep these thoughts secret.
In an emergency, you or someone helping you, can ring your GP or ring 111 for advice on getting help urgently.
If you can’t get help anywhere else, you can go to the Accident and Emergency department of the hospital.