How to relax: A guide for young people who look different

If you feel anxiety because you look different, it’s important to find ways to relax and feel calmer.

If you feel anxious or worried, it can seem almost impossible to relax. If you feel a lot of stress and anxiety because you look different, it’s important to find ways to feel calm.

There are lots of things you can do to get rid of the stress and anxiety. On this page, we explore how to relax.

Make a comfy relaxation place

If you struggle to know how to relax, the first thing you should do is make your very own special relaxation place.

When you feel worried, it really helps to have a nice, comfy place where you can relax. Find somewhere away from noise and other people. Find things that make you feel calm and happy, like a favourite soft toy, a poster or pictures, some cushions – whatever helps you feel nice. There’s no need to be embarrassed about what to choose – it’s your space and no one has to know what you’ve put there!

When you feel worried it can sometimes help to take yourself to this space in the house and relax with your favourite things.

Relaxation exercises

Some people do relaxation exercises to feel calmer. You might want to ask someone to practise a relaxation exercise with you the first time you try it.

Here are two simple exercises to try out if you struggle to know how to relax:

Breathing

  • Take a slow breath in, while counting to three in your head.
  • Then a slow breath out counting to three.
  • Do this until you notice your body feels more comfortable.

Calm place

  • Lie down, close your eyes and think about a place where you feel really calm and happy. This might be a beach, or some woods, or a favourite place.
  • Imagine this place is quiet and you are just looking around at everything.
  • Stay there in your head until you feel calmer.

There are lots of relaxation apps and videos you can try if you want to practise more.

Getting a good night’s sleep

Lots of people who feel worried struggle with sleeping well. Sleep helps us to feel better and calmer. We can end up in a vicious circle where we can’t sleep because of worry and then lack of sleep makes us feel even more anxious and on edge. You might find yourself worrying because you can’t get to sleep.

There are things you can try to help you sleep:

  • Where you go to sleep needs to be calm, warm and comfortable – somewhere you can relax.
  • If you are worried about going to bed, speak to your mum, dad or carer – they will be able to talk it through with you.
  • Avoid screens (phones, tablets, laptops) for at least an hour before you go to sleep. Their blue light can make it harder to go to sleep.
  • Try not to worry about sleeping – try out the relaxation exercises above in bed or read a book.

Try our audio relaxations

We’ve put together four audio relaxations with an expert called Julie. They’ve been made especially to help teenagers and young adults feeling anxious or worried about the way they look.

Session 1: Breathing and relaxation

This first session lasts 10 minutes. In it, you’ll focus on your breathing and relaxing your muscles.

Aimed at: Ages 10 upwards

Session 2: Building positivity

This session is 15 minutes long. It’s designed to help you switch off and think more positively.

Aimed at: Ages 16 upwards

Session 3: Confidence and mindfulness

This session is about 18 minutes long. It will help you relax your muscles and find a safe, calm space.

Aimed at: Ages 10 upwards

Session 4: Mindful breathing

The last session is seven minutes long. Julie talks you through some breathing exercises to help you feel calmer.

Aimed at: More suitable for younger children, ages 5 to 8 years

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