• Teen Authors

43 Free Resources For Mental Wellbeing During Summer Break

Updated: Jul 12


As we navigate this time of uncertainty, taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. Humans are biologically social beings. Even though social distancing is necessary right now for our physical health, it can be very detrimental to our mental health. On top of that, as teenagers, we are also coping with boredom and disappointment, whether that’s from missing prom, graduation, or seeing friends daily. On the bright side, thanks to many companies offering free resources at this time, there are various things you can do at home to take care of yourself!


Our team of teens put this list together. Now is the perfect time to try something out:


Mindfulness Apps

Research has shown again and again how helpful mindfulness and meditation are for our mental health and how it can literally change our brain structure. It has especially been proven to help with anxiety, depression, and trauma. Mindfulness has the misconception of being religious, but all it really means is cultivating an awareness of what’s going on for you and being able to focus your mind. Here are some resources:

  • The Calm App (https://www.calm.com/ in app store) is an awesome meditation app that currently offers free membership. In addition to a section specific to teens, it has “emergency calm” meditations for times when you are going nuts at home and need to cool down quick! Are you struggling to go to bed these days? They also have great bedtime stories narrated by different celebrities which just might do the trick!

  • They currently have a free page to help with coronavirus anxiety!

  • Headspace (app store) offers a free trial, and introduces mindfulness in a way that’s easy to practice and understand

  • Smiling Mind (app store) is great for beginners and offers a variety of programs

  • Stop, Think, & Breathe (app store) is another great one that is personalized to you and also helps you keep track of your emotions.


Yoga for Active Mindfulness

If you are more into active mindfulness, try some yoga! Yoga is a form of mindfulness that is also proven to be effective in improving mood and reducing stress and anxiety. And it’s a lot easier than you might think!

  • Yoga with Adriene, a popular yoga channel on YouTube that has guided yoga videos for all levels and time commitments, here

  • Beginner Yoga by SaraBethYoga (8.5 million views) here

  • Yogaglo offers a 2-week free trial here


Online Community Forums

If you are feeling like you really just need to talk to someone who’s going through what you are, there are a variety of online chat rooms.

  • 7 Cups (https://www.7cups.com/) offers 24/7 volunteer listeners who will be compassionate and understanding with whatever you throw at them. “7 Cups” also has self-help guides if you are looking for advice or tips on how to grow yourself.

  • AnxietySocialNet.com, which focuses on people struggling with anxiety, which we would guess includes the vast majority of the world right now!

  • Teenline (https://teenlineonline.org/) is a forum by and for teens with a range of topics from homework to sexual health.

  • If you are feeling down, texting 741-741 is another resource that has counselors available to offer support.


Mental Health Apps

If you are wanting to specifically work on negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that are coming up for you at this time, there are a lot of research-based apps that can help with just that.

  • Mood Kit (app store) is a great app founded by cognitive behavioral psychologists that suggests a bunch of activities proven to improve your mood, a journal to reflect on your feelings, and a thought log. This app currently costs $5.

  • Youper (app store) is a cool free app with a personalized AI emotional health assistant that helps you monitor your symptoms, has positive affirmations, and different personality assessments to help you better understand yourself.

  • MindShift (app store) is an upbeat free app based in CBT that helps you obtain a different perspective on anxiety, gain acceptance over uncomfortable feelings, and find tools to manage anxious thoughts.

  • Happify (https://www.happify.com/ or app store) is an app for stress, low self esteem, and depressive symptoms, and gamifies treatment by offering fun games and ways to train your mind to feel less negative. or in app store


****If you are in crisis and feeling suicidal or unsafe, the suicide hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.


Get Outside and Play!

Going outside is always a free activity. Coined “forest bathing,” research has found that being in nature or even looking at scenes of nature improves mood and reduces stress levels. If you can find a safe, isolated space, try to get some sun. Or if you can’t, here are some fun ways to feel like you are out in nature:

  • Visit the National Parks Virtually

  • Forest bathing on Youtube-- here

  • Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari - live visits with the Cincinnati Zoo’s animals daily on Facebook Live at 3pm EST. The Cincinnati Zoo is known for many Internet-famous animals including Fiona the Hippo! Here

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium offers live-streamed videos of sea otters, jellyfish, and more from 7am PST to 7pm, here

  • Mpele Research Centre in Kenya livestreams a watering hole used by elephants, hippos, zebras, crocodiles, leopards, and other animals!

  • Tembe Elephant Park, near Mozambique, is the home of the largest elephants in the world and also hosts a livestream.


Exercise

Just 15 minutes of exercise per day is shown to improve your mood and happiness levels. Add in the benefit of taking a break from staring at your online classes screen, and it’s a win-win. Here’s some easy and free workouts you can do in home!


Cardio Workout

  • Easy Warm Up Cardio Workout by FitnessBlender (14 million views) here

  • 30 Minute Standing Cardio Workout by PopSugar (802k views) here

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts, no equipment needed

  • 20-Minute Full Body Workout with Pamela Reif (19.5 million views) here; beginner version of same here

  • SELF Magazine (5.9 million views) here

  • PopSugar Fitness (4 million views) here

  • Emi Wong, 15 minute beginner workout (1.5 million views) here

  • New York Times Seven-Minute Workout - here


Fun!

If you are looking for fun activities to relieve some stress, either alone or with people in your family, here’s a few ideas! You probably have way too much time on your hands, so why not try a new skill or do something you have always wanted to do!

  • Baking, even with limited supplies: recipes with 3 ingredients and 5 ingredients

  • Cooking - even if you don’t have fancy ingredients, there are a lot of online guides to perfecting the basics: burgers, eggs, grilled cheese, pasta, the entire Basics with Babish Youtube series, or brush up on food safety

  • Card Tricks here

  • Duolingo offers 23 languages including Spanish, French, Klingon (seriously), and High Valerian (again, seriously) here

  • Skillshare offers two months premium for free here; classes include animation, creative writing, and fine art

  • Juggling - why not? Here

  • 20 Questions, with or without friends - play with AI here

  • Would You Rather? 250 questions here

  • Battleship here

  • Boggle here

  • Chess with Friends here

  • Dominoes here

  • Scribd has made all of its eBooks free for 30 days to help entertain people like us who are stuck inside!

  • Audible has made many of its audiobooks free

  • Drawing (only a pencil/pen needed) - Bodies here, Eyes (hyper-realistic) here, Faces here


This time of being stuck at home will end at some point, but the days can feel long right now. We hope that some of these resources may help! In addition to these ideas, it is important to keep up the ways that you already take care of yourself, whether that’s sleeping eight hours a night, listening to music, talking with friends or family, or being creative!


Daybreak is currently offering several resources to help with COVID-19, including this free blog, short-term text support, and our 3-month summer program. Text ‘Hello’ to 415-992-6155 or reach out here.


If you are in a life threatening situation - don’t use this site. Call 911 to get immediate help.