Things are very strange and different at the moment and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. You may feel anxious or uncertain, even sad at times. It’s important to remember you’re not alone. We all have these feelings at different times, particularly when there is a lot of change going on and we are not in our usual routines. It’s when these feelings do not go away and happen often that you may need more support (See further information below).
To help with these feelings and keep yourself feeling positive and well, some of the activities below may help.
Keep Connected: It is really important to stay in touch with those you love and trust. It can be difficult with the restrictions that are in place to see people face to face, but a quick chat over the phone or a virtual call can really help you to feel more connected. Being able to talk through your feelings or just feel that sense of normality can make you feel better. Lots of children and young people who do not have the internet or a mobile phone have started to write letters to love ones or have become pen pals, it’s a great way to stay in touch and something that a member of your household can help you with.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that support can be closer than you think, being at home more with family/carers/guardians gives us more time to talk and spend time together. We all want to close the world out sometimes, but just checking in with the people you live with everyday can make you feel more positive and less alone. Telling your family/cares/guardians honestly how you’re feeling and discussing how you can be more connected to the people who are important to you is a great first step.
Important: Sometimes the things we think are keeping us connected are not always good for us. Spending a lot of time on social media can make us feel not great about ourselves. Whilst it can be a good way to keep in touch with friends and family, it’s important to remember that not all of the images and information presented there is accurate or a true reflection of peoples real lives. If you start to feel like your mood is changing when you use social media it might be a good idea to take a break for a few days and do some of the other activities suggested below.
Be Active: Scientific research tells us that one of the best ways to keep us feeling good is to do some physical exercise. Exercise doesn’t always mean competing in a sport, even though that is a great way to feel good. Sometimes it can be going for a walk or jog, playing at the field or park, doing a physical home activity or work out, swimming, skipping, running, dancing etc. Just a little bit everyday can have a positive effect on your mood and improve your confidence.
It’s good to hear that indoor organised sports are starting back, you can find out about what sports clubs are open in your area and if there are any free activities you can take part in by contacting your local Family Information Service.
Keep Learning: A good way to keep our minds active in a positive way is to try something new or learn a new skill. Being at home more is a good opportunity to do this. Lots of young people are taking more time to read, draw/paint/craft, cook/bake, try a new instrument or practice singing, learn a different language, join online clubs and other groups etc.
If there is something you think you would enjoy, now is a good time to give it a try. If you need some inspiration and ideas, it’s good to talk about it with family and friends. Schools and colleges can provide useful information and ideas too. There is also lots of information online.
Give: Right now, maybe more than ever, there are opportunities to support others. Science tells us that helping someone else can change how we feel about ourselves and improve our mood and confidence. There are a lot of charities and organisations that would love your support by volunteering, and you can find out about these opportunities through your Local Voluntary Council.
But remember sometimes it is the smallest things that make a difference. Just taking the time to help around the house, making a kind gesture, saying thank you or listening to friends and family/carers can have a positive effect on you and the other person.
Take Notice: A good way to be more aware about what’s going on with your emotions is to think about your thoughts and feelings as they happen and take notice of the things around you when they do. A good example is to think about the sights, sounds, smells and tastes around us and how we feel in that moment. Many young people find a quiet and calm space the best place to give this a try. Some will also try slow and calm breathing with their eyes closed, to help them relax.
Taking this time can help us not to think too much about some of the things in the wider world going on around us and can help us to deal with anxiety and stress. If you would like to learn more you can go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/