Mental wellbeing for young people

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Feeling hemmed in?

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 11 Oct, 2020

Isolating? In Quarantine? Or just (!) a localised lockdown? So many of us are back to being under restrictions now in this autumn #PandemicSeason. But how do you cope when it feels like the walls are closing in on you and claustrophobia is starting to kick in?

These are situations none of us have EVER encountered before this crazy season and it's so hard to find ways of getting your head around what's happening that don't have really negative, panic inducing connnutations - many people have been quoted as saying its like being in prison. And that, combined with the loss of control and the stress of the situation makes it all too easy to get swept away by a tidal wave of panic that steals your ability to think clearly and can feel terrifying.

So how do you manage if you are in this place right now? Here's 5 things to do:

1 - Take a moment.

If panic is overwhelming you, resist the temptation to keep thinking about it, being caught in it and see if you can press pause. Can you put on a song you love and find calming? Maybe light a candle to help you focus? If you're a person of faith it may be that a worship song would be particularly helpful. Or go for something that reminds you of good times or people?

Put it on and hum or sing the words - it helps calm your breathing and move your focus somewhere better. You can pace around whilst you do it if you need to but once you feel calmer try to sit and take a moment to rest. Put the song on repeat if you need to and do this a few times until you feel the panic settle a bit.

2 - Make contact with someone.

Panic isolates us even more because we can't think straight and we feel like we can't communicate. But you can. Even if it is just sending a text, make contact with someone. You are not alone in this. Don't let your panic make you think you are.

Think about HOW you can reach out - and also to WHO. It might help to make this a regular thing too - could you agree a daily check in with a best mate? Or a call each day to someone you love? Or do something more crazy - how about thinking of an animal for every letter of the alphabet as a text challenge with a mate or group of mates - see how quick you can get through the A-Z?!

3 - Think about routine.

Ok, so this is an unusual situation and whilst in normal life, things you can do to just use up time might feel like time-wasting - but here they are a really good coping strategy. Particularly if this is a strict isolation period, so not lasting forever, you need to think about things you can put in your routine that can get you through, keep you distracted and bring some interest to your day.

So ... what are the things you can add in? Do you already have some things? Lectures? Group chats? School stuff? Plan those key moments when you'll watch a favourite fun and light hearted program? (Bake off time!) schedule in what you can - and write it down - it gets it out of your head which will help reduce the feelings of overwhelm and help you feel more in control.

Think daily routine but also across your week - you don't need to fill every moment of course - but having things planned will really help.

4 - Get some exercise.

Yeah, I know - you may not be able to leave your room/flat/house. But there are still ways you can do this!!

There are LOADS of online classes now - some recorded (check out youtube!), some live where you can join by zoom. Exercise will provide a different focus, help you feel less hemmed in, and get rid of some of the tension and frustration you're holding in your body. And maybe you can join with a mate and do the same class? Or share stuff you have found good?

5 - Find a project.

If you know this time is gonna create a LOT of hours to fill, and particularly if you are struggling to sleep (there's no time more lonely than the early hours when you can't sleep), find a project you can get stuck into in this season.

It could be a book you always wanted to read, a box set you've always meant to watch (no, that isn't lazy when you're locked down - it's a project!!!), a craft project (that embroidery kit you got given but never did? Dig it out!), language to learn, crazy skill you always fancied being able to pull off (juggling anyone?!) - anything.

Add this into your schedule and also use it as your fall back in moments you don't know what to do - it'll help pass time AND feeling productive will lift your mood.


Dump Despair!!

Dump Despair!!


Explaining Emotions ...

Explaining Emotions ...