We have all heard the words ‘anxious,’ ‘nervous’ and ‘panic’ many times these past few months, and teenage anxiety is a very real condition even without a pandemic to blame. Anxiety may show itself as nervousness, worrying, restlessness or out of character behaviour, and most teenagers tend to feel some sort of mild anxiety from time to time. So, if you are feeling out of sorts right now, you can be assured that you are not the only one. With everything that has been thrown at you over the past few months, it is totally understandable! No other generation has had to deal with a national lockdown, a complete school closure and an exam results fiasco, so moving onto the next stage of your life, whether that is further education, an apprenticeship or getting into the working world, we have some tips to help you to cope.
We all think we know how to relax, but lying in front of the TV or scrolling through your phone isn't true relaxation, it may actually make you even more tense and anxious!!
What you really need is to practice a relaxation technique such as deep breathing, or yoga, as they have a physical effect on the mind. Deep breathing helps to relax a major nerve that runs from the diaphragm to the brain, sending a message to the entire body to let go and loosen up. So turn off the electrics and take time, even just 5 minutes to breath!
Take care of yourself:
Exercise, eat, sleep, repeat… Get the right amount of sleep, not too much and not too little. Eat well, ensuring you have a good balance of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains for long-term energy; fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets release short bursts of energy that lead to a major crash in sugar levels and make you feel worse. Exercise sends oxygen to every cell in the body, so your brain and body operate at their best.
Spend time with friends or family:
Organised activities are great, but just hanging out works too. Doing things with those we feel closest to allows us to feel supported and secure, making us less upset about things we can’t control. If you feel worried or nervous about something, talking about it with someone who listens and cares can help you feel more understood and better able to cope. You'll be reminded that everyone has these feelings sometimes. Remember, you're not alone!
Get out and about:
Heading out for a walk in the park can help anyone feel peaceful and grounded. Choose somewhere you feel safe so you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. Walking, running, cycling all offer the additional benefit of exercise too. Why not invite a friend or a family member to join you and enjoy feeling connected to people as well.
Keep a journal:
A great way to keep our minds off the worry track is to focus our thoughts. Keep track of how you are feeling from day-to-day. What changes your mood? Are there parts of your daily routine that make you feel more positive? Try to put more emphasis on the good and positive elements, ensuring you try not to let negative feelings bring you down. Appreciate the small, everyday things that put a smile on your face and allow yourself to dream, wish, and imagine the best that could happen.
At Youth Connect South West we are always happy to talk with you. Our goal is to offer the right support, when you need it most. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 07980 998670.
If you need help or advice out of office hours, or would like to access support by text or online the following services can also help you:
Kooth (for young people living in Bath and North East Somerset) https://www.kooth.com/
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/ Text service for crisis support (free on most network providers) text YM to 85258
Childline https://www.childline.org.uk/ or call 08001111