No exams! Is this good news or bad?

This is just a quick message following last week’s news and developments. I know this is a strange time and we are all trying to adjust to exactly what happens next.

I wanted to send a message to everyone who has had exams cancelled to say that so far, everyone I have spoken to has been experiencing a whole range of emotions, and I think this is normal! There is some relief for some people, but no-one has yet told me that it is completely great news and they aren’t feeling at the very least a bit weird or confused at the moment. Everyone is in the same boat, so hang on in there!

I think plans will become clearer over the next few weeks. In the meantime, my top tips are:

· Keep active – in any way you can.

As long as you haven’t been told to literally stay indoors, it is still fine to go for a walk or a run, just steer clear of crowds and stay 2 metres away from people. Walking in the woods with a friend is fine, just don’t hug each other and don’t invite 15 other people along. There are loads of online activities, exercise classes and fitness challenges popping up all over the place, so find something you might enjoy and have a go

The normal signals that tell your body and brain that things are alright with the world and keep you healthy are going to be slightly harder to come by at the moment. Be a bit creative though, and you can still get them: daylight, exercise, food, sleep, social interactions and positive attention from ourselves and others.

· Keep your brain active.

You have been gearing up to this for the last 2 years at least, and your brains are ready to go! Keep them busy and keep learning. All the knowledge you have now might still be useful to you, even if you don’t have to sit a GCSE in it, so don’t let it slip away. Keep going with a bit of revision.

· Keep learning.

Whatever it is, set yourself challenges and have a go. This is a golden opportunity to do things you might not have had a chance to do otherwise. You know that skill you have always wanted to learn but never got round to? Or that thing you feel curious about and want to know more? Now is the time! I have been inspired by young people who are learning to play the electric guitar, basic bike maintenance and how to organise their own shopping and cooking before going to Uni. I am so inspired I am going to attempt to learn to crochet. I’ll let you know how that goes…..!

· Remember this will end.

Life will continue, even if we don’t yet know exactly when. You won’t be at a huge disadvantage to other people your age, because this has happened to everyone. But you do want to be ready for when life carries on.

Obviously this is a serious and worrying time and we all need to play our part in keeping ourselves and others as safe as possible. You guys have skills and energy that your families and communities could use right now. Hold on tight and try to find the fun in making the most of it!

Best wishes, Helen

Dr Helen Care, Clinical Psychologist

A Confident Start