Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Teenagers being forbidden from going to school. Who would have guessed that would be happening?
These are strange times but remember that everybody is in the same boat. There may not be a clear plan yet, but everyone is doing the same thing that you are and is waiting for that plan to become clearer. So hang on in there and don’t panic.
Here are some top tips:
Take each day as it comes. Try not to get lost in the feeling that this is endless, but take each day as it comes, focusing on the smaller things that you can do, that keep each day moving along, and remind yourself that this will come to an end and that life will continue as normal.
Try drawing up a list of goals that you can work towards. Anything that you would like to achieve and would matter to you. Break them down into smaller steps.
Think about setting these as SMART goals.
If you have never used these before, SMART stands for
What you are looking for are detailed, specific steps, that are small enough to be measured – would you know if you had achieved it?
Achievable – something that you could realistically do
Relevant to the goal you are aiming towards
And time limited, so you have a set idea of how long they are likely to take and set a time for when are you going to complete it.
You have an incredible brain, whether it always feels like that or not. The best thing is to keep it active. Brains are like other parts of our bodies, if we stop using them for thinking, they will stop working as well. Keep them busy and active. Think of it as exercising your brain for when it needs to get going with all those tasks again. Keep learning, whatever it is that you think would be helpful for you in the future, whatever skills you are interested in or feel like you struggle with now that you would like to strengthen. This is a great opportunity to learn a skill, whether that is a formal skill that might be useful in the future at school, or just something you’ve always wanted to do like learn how to crochet or how to code a platform game.
Brains are also physical. They are part of our bodies and our bodies thrive on certain physical signals. It is helpful to keep these signals going as normally as possible – eating, sleeping, seeing daylight, getting exercise.
Exercise is the best way we know of to keep all the chemicals in your body and your brain working as normally as possible. It also helps burn off any stress or worry that builds up.
We have to stick to government advice for the safety of everyone in our communities, so it might not be as easy to carry on with the exercise that you would normally do. Try to find substitutes and try to be out, walking, running or cycling, as much as you can whilst maintaining that social distancing. There are lots of ideas of the web for ways to keep physically active.
We are also social animals. Humans need attention and social contact to feel well. Keep in contact with others as best you can, use social media for good.
Cut each other some slack. Everyone is going to be struggling right now. Parents are stressed and worried, siblings are bored. Give each other space if you can and be kind to each other.
Lastly – don’t underestimate your skills. Your knowledge will be important to your family and your community. If you have friends you haven’t heard from, reach out to them. If you have family members who are not as tech savvy as you, teach them. You have skills, knowledge and energy that your families and communities could use right now.
Dr Helen Care, Clinical Psychologist
A Confident Start