Mental wellbeing for young people



Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 16 Feb, 2021

Why are people SO important? Why do we miss them SO much? And how might thinking about the ways we can PRIORITISE and PLAN connecting with them (and who we need to catch up with) help us get through global pandemic

So this is a little series called Pandemic Pressure and it's all about things you can do in this moment to feel a bit better, but also in any moment in real life, because it will involve rough times and seasons where you have to deal with stress or anxiety, or just life throwing a load of stuff at you, like exams or stuff that's difficult or challenging. And this one is about people.

See, so much of this pandemic season, the reason it's so difficult is 'cause it's taken out stuff that is part of our basic design to need. Way back in the creation story, we see God make, well, everything, I mean, look around you! All this stuff is stuff that God made in creation and he looks at it all and he says it's good. That's an ancient Hebrew word that literally means it's just the way it should be.

But there's one thing he says is not good, not the way it should be and that's when he looks at the human being that he's made and he sees that this human is alone: he's disconnected from other people.

You see, we're designed to need other people, to connect with other people, to hang out with other people, to argue with other people, debate with other people, do life with other people. Solve the world's problems by sitting around chatting for hours. To hug and embrace and touch other people. And we've been so limited in that for so long now, it's hard. This season has placed a load of pressure on that stuff. And it's even been called friendship funnelling, what's happening in this season. Because it's so much harder, we've all narrowed our social contacts down to like maybe just one or two or three. And as it's got harder and as the season's gone on longer and longer, that's happened more and more and so your social world has just got really limited.

And the thing is, most of the colour and fun and joy in your friendship's social spaces, comes from the periphery, the people around the edges. So it's the people who you wouldn't probably count as like your bestest, bestest mates, but they're the ones you see in like chemistry class or English class, or you kick around a ball with at break time or you go to drama with, or the people you just hang out with. And we miss those people because we've lost so much of that interest in our life. So, here's some stuff you can do to help lift your mood.

Now remember, connecting with people requires a bit of your brain. So you might need to plan for this one and prioritise it. Get some rest, drop your stress level. Look at the other video on productivity for some simple tricks for how to lift your mood so you feel a bit more like actually talking to someone, but then, think about how can you connect with people?

Is it just one person you need to do this really well with, have a really good catch-up? Like a long phone call, a one-to-one walk where you chat and solve the problems of the world, or just vent all your frustration. Is there someone you need to have like an instant message extravaganza with and just sit and tap away to, and rather than just doing that by default and then thinking, 'oh man, I just wasted a load of time when I was supposed to be doing biology', plan for it, think 'I'm gonna put aside like an hour and a half and that's what I'm gonna do with this time and I'm gonna do it really well, I'm going to make hot chocolate first and we're gonna drink it together. We're both gonna make one and it's gonna be this amazing moment': do it really well.

Maybe it's about a group of people. Is there a group space that's happening that you haven't connected with? Like a youth group or a church group or something that's moved online and you're like, 'I'm not really feeling it. I don't really wanna do this on Zoom', but maybe sometimes it is about making the effort to do it because it reconnects you with a bigger group.

Or is it just prioritising this stuff? Maybe you can come up with something creative. Maybe you can make some space and energy to do it. Think how, could you do like a Zoom escape room or a chocolate tasting or get everyone together and you all watch the same movie and you're on FaceTime at the same time chatting while you do it. Or you do a craft together or you all bake the same thing at the same time and see how it comes out.

Anything, how could you connect with people again? 'Cause it will help, it's a good way of dealing with pandemic pressure and finding something more positive in the midst of it all. So give it a go.