Now is not the time to panic.
Opt for being prepared—and flexible—instead. As the coronavirus progresses, we may have several phases of changing the way we are used to doing things.
Here’s a great article explaining why we needed to act now.
Here’s why young people should be concerned too.
Take Your Mental Health Seriously
- STAY CONNECTED. While the consequences of social distancing and isolation may affect everyone differently, it’s important for each of us to stay connected with friends and family. Attending daily online classes is part of that, but it’s also helpful to call or FaceTime with friends and family members daily when you can’t see them in person.
- STRUCTURE YOUR DAY. Try to stick to a normal schedule. Get up and dressed as if you were heading into your regular weekday routine. Schedule a set time to study, exercise, etc. Seniors preparing for college, this is great practice for improving your ability to handle unstructured time in a productive manner.
- LIMIT MEDIA EXPOSURE. Media overload can increase stress levels. Avoid a constant stream of news reports and limit the number of times you check news updates during the day.
- FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL. To avoid feelings of helplessness and boost empowerment, focus on the things you can control, make an action plan, and do something each day towards your end goal. For example, if your goal is to boost your GPA, focus your efforts on turning in all assignments daily and dedicating extra time to your studies. Think of your long-term goals and how you can do little things each day to accomplish those, or concentrate on an area of self-improvvement by asking yourself, "How can I come out of this a better version of myself?" Lose a bad habit, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, set a new fitness goal, become a better neighbor or friend.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH. Get exercise. While your gym may be closed, go for a walk or a run. Physical activity helps reduce stress and cortisol levels. Stay hydrated. Drinking water can also help moderate stress hormone levels, as does getting enough rest. The revamped school schedule can provide extra time to catch up on your sleep. Teenagers need at least 8-9 hours per night.
- FIND THE POSITIVE. Look for the good in each day and share stories about how our community and those around you are responding positively. Thank those who are working to keep our communities safe.
- HELP OTHERS. Reach out to friends and relatives to see how they are doing. If you are a natural introvert, this is a great time to check on your extroverted friends who thrive on social contact! Look for opportunities to support others or offer encouragement to those who are struggling.
- EXPLORE NEW POSSIBILITIES. Even with continued academic requirements; you likely have extra time in your schedule. Use it to learn something new, set a goal for yourself, create a vision board, read a book for pleasure, take a virtual college tour, enjoy family activities, spend time in prayer, learn relaxation techniques, or explore resources like online museum tours that are now free to the public.
- ASK FOR HELP. Always, if you experience feelings of overwhelming anxiety, sadness, or depression, let a caring adult family member, counselor, or friend know.