Edition: May 11th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
Excerpts from article by Sapna Bangar, published on mpowerminds.com
The pandemic has acutely affected the mental health of teens. There is a sharp rise in anxiety and depression in teenagers, say experts. Their problems are many, but sleep disturbances, panic attacks, increase in addictions, self-harm or suicidal thoughts, and lack of concentration are some of the common complaints of teens.
The change in their routine, lack of privacy, little or no opportunity to vent out their feelings, inability to meet friends who are in a similar boat, adapting to long-term virtual learning, etc., seem to have taken a toll on them.
Many feel frustrated, trapped, unable to communicate their feelings, and overwhelmed with their emotions. They feel helpless and find it difficult to deal with the uncertainty ahead, as well as seeing their parents struggle.
While we cannot control everything, here are some steps that the young people and their parents can take to tackle the situation better:
1. Stay connected
Maintaining physical distance need not mean social distancing. Stay connected with your loved ones, family and friends. Call your friends, have a video-call, catch up with your family or check in with someone on social media. Seeking support from others helps us realise that we are not alone.
2. Express your feelings
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, confused and uncertain. What is important is that you express your feelings to someone you trust. You can also write in your journal or use creative arts to let go of your pent up emotions.
3. Get into a daily routine
When everything around us seems uncertain, having a structure and routine makes us feel in control. You might find it helpful to plan out your time in advance and know what you are doing each day, so you have something to look forward to.
4. Look after your personal environment
Create a space that you are able to enjoy and feel comfortable in. It could even be a small corner of your room or a space in the balcony.
5. Take a break from social media
Stay away from news coverage or social media if you feel like its having a negative impact on your mental health.
6. Foster wellness
Eat, sleep and exercise regularly. Avoid excessive caffeine or other harmful substances. Develop new or revisit old hobbies. Spend at least some ‘me time’, even if it for 10 minutes a day, doing something that you enjoy. Practise yoga, meditation or mindfulness to reduce stress levels.
7. Be thankful
Practise the art of being thankful for what you have. You can maintain a gratitude journal too. Remember, sometimes the people or things we take for granted are the ones that are most important for us.
8. Find a purpose
Take up a social cause like helping others who are less fortunate. Helping others elevates our self-esteem and adds to our resilience. Set realistic goals, you may need to revisit your goals or move the timelines of achieving them. Break your goals into small achievable targets and slowly move forward.
9. Seek help
Seeking help from a professional when you need it is crucial in building resilience, especially when you feel stuck or have difficulty making progress.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)