Social illness

Distractions to cope with a busy brain

Sometimes, our brain is far too busy. As thoughts stack up, creating a never-ending whizzy-blur, distractions can help us cope. We might struggle to avoid self-damaging behaviours or grapple with dark thoughts. Perhaps we feel overwhelmed, anxious, or restless.

Alongside self-care, self-help, and support from loved ones and/or professionals, sometimes we just need to ride it out, self-soothe, distract ourselves, and maybe even raise a smile.

Positive online spaces

The happy news by Emily Coxhead logo

The Happy Newspaper

The news can feel all doom and gloom at times. The Happy Newspaper offers a welcome distraction. They share plenty of good news stories in bright, non-gloomy colours.

The Good News Network logo

The Good News Network

Need a little more good news? The Good News Network includes lots of different good news stories from all over the world.

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Distractions that make us laugh

Face the music logo.

Face the music

This distraction makes it hard to keep a straight face…in more ways than one. Using our webcam, we can play music with our face. We can alter the sound by opening and closing our mouth, tilting our head, and raising our eyebrows. There are a few different styles of music to choose from.

Scroobly. Scrooble a doodle.Bring it to life. Below it is an orange thumb-shaped blob with black squiggly hair on top, eyes closed, tongue out.


We don’t need to be Picasso for this one. First, draw a character or scribble on a blob. Then, we can use our webcam to animate it! Record movements to share with others. This site gets us moving our whole body. Perfect for when our get up and go has got up and gone.

Screenshot of the magic sketchpad page.

Magic Sketchpad

Choose an item from the dropdown menu at the top. Start drawing lines, or a picture. Whenever we lift up our pen or mouse, the sketchpad tries to finish our drawing for us, often with smile-inducing results.

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Distractions requiring some concentration

What should I read next logo

What should I read next?

When we’re restless and struggling to settle, deciding what to do can sometimes be as hard as getting started. If reading is something we enjoy, then this tool makes settling down with a good book a little easier. Pop in the title of a book, and it will list some suggestions.

One zoom logo

One Zoom

This is an incredible site allowing us to zoom into all sorts of different aspects of life and nature. We can lose ourselves in it for hours!

Random lists logo

Random list generator

This is a distraction that can lead to more distraction. Create scavenger hunts. Make a list of things to watch. Generate random animals and then find out about them. The opportunities are endless!

Screenshot of map (Part of USA containing Washington) with graphic of a man bending over at the waist.

Dig through the world

This page shows us where we’d pop out if we dug our way through the earth. Choose a location, and see where it ends up! We might think we’re good at Geography, but we’re often surprised by the results.

National Geographic kids logo
Screen shot of all the card games available at card

Card Games

Many of us will have played card games at some point in our lives. Often, they’re stored somewhere in our memory, whether we realise it or not. This site has a collection of different card games to get absorbed in.

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No concentration? No problem

Take me to a useless website logo

Take me to a useless website

Sometimes we have no concentration and no focus. We don’t know what we want to do and we struggle with restlessness. This website is great for taking us to bizarre, funny, and seemingly random corners of the internet that don’t require memory, concentration, or focus.

Little Alchemy

Combine things to make other things. An unexpectedly engrossing game. It can pass a lot of time, distracting us for ages.

Screenshot of 'this is my website now homepage.

This is my website now

A collection of useful and not-so-useful sites. From those that make decisions for us to those that are weird and wonderful. Not every site will be for us, but there are lots of different ones to try, so we can just pop back to the main site and try a different one.

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Visit places without leaving the house

Screenshot of 'Take a virtual field trip' homepage.

Take a virtual field trip

Leaving the house is hard, sometimes. A virtual trip might be all we can manage – but it helps us to feel less caged in. Visit different places around the world! Take a tour of museums. Learn about different aspects of science, art, nature, and more. A wealth of interesting things to look at, explore, and learn.

Screenshot of a virtual drive

Go for a virtual drive

Driving can be really soothing, but might not be an option for us right now. Here is the next best thing. Drive around different cities all over the world, and listen to their radio stations. The combination of something to watch and something to listen to can make this one an absorbing, effective distraction.

Screenshot of a visit to the star 'castor'.

Visit space

Head to space and visit different stars. Learn about them with the helpful text boxes. Or just enjoy flying around looking at different bits and bobs. Space is so vast that there’s loads to discover.

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Creative distractions

Tony Tool logo

Toony Tool

For some of us, exercising our creativity is the best way to distract ourselves, especially if it’s something using our hands. Toony Tool lets us make our own cartoons and comics. There’s also an option to add frames to turn it into an animation or GIF.

Screenshot of animated drawings homepage.

Animated Drawings

Draw a character (or use one of the examples), upload it, pick which points to animate, and watch it come to life! This one can have some very funny results, and tweaking it to try out different animation points can keep us distracted for ages.

Blackout poetry co logo

Blackout Poetry Maker

Blackout poetry is where we take a piece of text from a magazine, book, or elsewhere, and blackout different words until we’re only left with those we choose to have as part of our poem or piece of writing. This can be especially good if communication is tricky at the moment and we need to get things ‘out there’, but any time we try to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) we get stuck.

Vertex Meadow screenshot

Vertex Meadow

Create your own 3D world. This can take a little practice, but is fun to play with and is an excellent way of escaping our current situation for a while.

Google Arts & Culture logo

Google Arts and Culture

Visit museums, play games, learn about different art-and-culture-related things. There’s a whole range of different things to do within this section of Google, so there should be something for most people.

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Let’s make some noise!

Scribble audio logo

Scribble Audio

Draw lines to create sound. Loop it to create a continuous beat. Play around with different shapes to see what happens. This is a particularly good one if we find sounds to be soothing.

Noisedeck logo


Play around with different sliders to make patterns that move, pulse, and loop. This distraction might be especially helpful for the sensory-seekers; those of us who need lots of visual input alongside the sounds we hear.

Project clash, an audio experiment logo.

Clash Audio Experiment

Type words into the box and it automatically generates a song for each word. Click the words to choose different songs from the selection shown. Play the text from start to finish to see what it sounds like.

Type drummer logo

Type Drummer

Create different beats using a keyboard (the computer kind, not the musical kind). Type different words to see what they sound like, or try a made-up collection of letters. It’s fun to hear how each of them sounds.

Screenshot of natural language playlist homepage.

Natural Language Playlist

When we’re feeling rubbish it can be hard to figure out what to listen to, but without listening to anything our brain can get tricky. This site may have the answer. All we have to do is describe the type of thing we want to listen to – however vague – and it generates a playlist based on our words.

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Need some background noise? logo

Listen to the sound of forests all over the world. Great for some calm, natural background noise.

Screenshot of Noises Online.

Noises Online

Combine different natural sounds to create background noise. It’s designed to mask any annoying background noise that we don’t want to listen to, or that we’re finding distracting.

Screenshot of rainy mood.

Rainy Mood

Some of us find background noise of rain or storms can help us feel cosy and settled. 

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When everything feels too much

Some Bubbles from a game of blossom. They're purple, pink, green, and semi-transparent.


Press anywhere on the screen and a note plays, along with a circle that slowly fades. It’s a soothing and absorbing distraction. By watching each dot fade, it can feel like we’re letting some of the thoughts in our head go.

Screenshot of 'this website will self-destruct' homepage.

This website will self destruct

This site lets us express our feelings without worrying that someone will fin the diary under our pillow (or the ‘anonymous’ blog we’ve hidden online…). Others will be able to read what we write, but it won’t track our name or identity. After 24 hours, if there are no new messages, it self-destructs.

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It’s important to remember that we’re not alone. Asking for support is hard, but we can do it. However difficult the thoughts in our head are, no matter how unbearable things feel, we are not alone. We can ride this rough patch out.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.

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