Looking after your mental health as a teenager during COVID-19

Quarantine and social distancing can be really hard to deal with as a teen – especially if you thrive on social connections and you may be missing out on special events such as graduation, exams, and prom. It’s completely okay to feel anxious, frustrated or bored during this time; and if you’re worried about the effects the pandemic will have on your mental health, you are not alone.

Beyond Covid have created some of our tips for looking after your wellbeing during this period:

Routine

With no school and clubs to go to, your normal routine might be very disrupted, and this can make you feel out of control and anxious. Take some to write down how you want to spend the day. Creating and sticking to a new routine will give you a sense of order and some normality. Why not share this with you caregivers or parents to keep you on track? It’s important to include movement breaks, time for study, going to bed at the same time and time for family meals.

 

Self-care

It is more important than ever for you to engage in self-care activities during your day. Self-care simply means engaging with activities which make you feel calm and relaxed. We have created a self-care template which you can download at the bottom of this page.

 

Explore alternative celebrations

You’ve probably been looking forward to end of year parties, big birthday parties, sports events or holidays for some time. Whilst some events may be postponed, others may be cancelled all together and it’s completely okay to be upset about this. Although nothing can replace these precious milestones and celebrations, there are a growing number of virtual events to celebrate in a less traditional format. From Skype birthday parties, or prom on Zoom, you can connect in alternative and creative ways.

 

Find a positive online community

There are so many online communities out there when you can make new friends, get inspired and chat about things other than pandemic! You can try searching for groups involved in causes, music or TV shows that you’re passionate about, or even learn a new skill or join a book club!

Remember to avoid anything that encourages you do things which are dangerous or harmful for your physical or mental health. If you’re worried by things you’re experiencing online, talk to someone you trust.

 

Mindfulness

There are lots of great free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation to ease any anxiety you may experience and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. We like Headspace and Calm.

 

Be honest

It’s really important to be honest with those around you and reach out for support if you’re feeling worried, bored or frustrated. You may surprise yourself that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do. Why not catch up with a. friend – don’t be afraid to make the first move – they’ll probably be grateful to hear from you. Simply sending a message to someone you care about can brighten their day.

 

Stay connected

Phone calls are of course amazing and a great way to stay connected to your family and school friends. However, when you see someone face to face over a video call can make a huge difference to your mood and outlook. There are lots of free video calling services you can use such as Skype and Zoom, and if you connect to WiFi, this will help if you’re worried about your data allowance. Don’t be shy about being on camera, your loved one’s will just appreciate seeing you – even if you’re still in your pyjamas and in bed!

 

 

It’s okay to feel blue in this season, but leep in mind this season will pass.

 

Helplines if you need support immediately

 

UK:

 

Emergency services

  • 999 UK

 

YoungMinds

  • Crisis messenger service
  • Text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 mental health support if you are having a mental health crisis.

 

ChildLine

 

Samaritans

  • www.samaritans.org
  • if you’re in distress and need support, you can ring Samaritans for free at any time of the day or night.
  • freephone (UK and Republic of Ireland): 116 123 (24 hours)
  • email: jo@samaritans.org

 

Women’s Aid

  • www.womensaid.org.uk
  • if you think you may be experiencing domestic abuse and you identify as a woman, you can talk to Women’s Aid for free and confidential support
  • email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk
  • you can also chat to a support worker using their free instant messenger service, Mon-Fri (10am-12pm)

 

Canada:

Emergency Services

  • 911

 

Kids Help Phone

  • 24 hour confidential support: 1-800-668-6868

 

Hope for Wellness Help Line

  • 24 hour confidential support: 1-855-242-3310

 

Here to Help

 

USA:

Samaritans

  • 1 (800) 723

 

Crisis Text Line

  • Text ‘MHA’ to 741741

 

Author: Esther Dark

Twitter: @EstherDark3

Bio: Esther is a UK-based Occupational Therapist and also one of the leadership members for Beyond Covid.

Download our Self Care sheet

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