Hi, we are two local secondary students who, like everyone, are feeling the impact of the pandemic on our mental health and we know many of our friends are struggling too. It’s been very frustrating for us to adjust from having activities and hanging out, to not being able to see anyone or go anywhere. So we would like to share some of our personal experiences and some tips we have learned to help us cope so far.
Once we got writing, we found there's a lot we've been doing and a lot more we could do. We broke it into two blog posts-we’ll post part two next week. Pick and choose what might work for you, just making some small changes can make a big difference. Here are our first 3 tips:
1) Take time to de-stress and focus on you
Taking the time to destress from busy everyday life is a popular topic and definitely the most fun. Feel free to be creative with this one, as everyone has their own favourite things to do. Here are some of our favourite self-care routines!
Taking bubble baths
Doing face masks
Meditating for just five minutes before bed
Staying in your shower a little while longer
Listening to relaxing music
We enjoy doing these things solo and feel it's important to dedicate time to yourself. Of course doing stuff with friends (distanced) or family is a fine way to destress but it's nice to have the alone time. Even though it can sometimes be difficult to make the time-that's okay! Start with taking some deep breaths and relaxing in the moment.
2) Spending time outside
Since we’re all cooped up inside, the regular self-care options may not be cutting it. Getting some fresh air is one of our favourite ways to boost our mood - it's simple yet effective. Feel free to experiment with anything that gives you an opportunity to be outdoors. Try going out in the rain, exploring new areas, laying in the grass, or balancing rocks. It doesn't have to be that complicated. Alexa found that when she did just 15 minutes more outside every day, even in the cold and rain, she noticed a positive impact on her mood. Here are some other ideas:
Arrange to meet friends locally for a Covid-friendly walk
Go to a local park with a Covid bubble member and toss a frisbee or ball
Walk with your family to your favourite local coffee shop for a treat
Choose walking or biking over driving for short distances
Go for a walk, bike, or run around the block a couple times
If none of these sound appealing, you can start with something small like sitting on your front porch for 15 minutes-even if you are still using your phone.
3) Spend time away from social media
As teenagers, social media is a big part of our lives- especially during this pandemic where we have so much extra time on our hands. We have all heard about the negative effects social media , but perhaps you didn't really care or believe they applied to you.
Recently we noticed some changes in ourselves and each other. While we were using our phones to procrastinate, we felt disconnected from reality and the people around us. Social media was definitely affecting our mental health and self esteem. In an attempt to see if eliminating social media would have an impact, we decided to take a break. We deleted all forms of social media for one week-and supported each other to stick to the goal. During this week we accomplished much more and felt a sense of fulfilment we don’t normally experience. We picked up reading again and spent more time on self care and with family. We even had people in our lives telling us we seemed happier.
Now we aren't suggesting you delete social media, that's quite a big task; but, here are some potential ideas for disconnecting and creating a more positive environment for yourself.
Limit screen time on apps you know are draining you of time and energy. (i.e. Takara limited screen time on TikTok to 30 min a day)
Take regular “cleanses” from social media. (i.e. Maybe have one social media free day a week, or one week a month)
Follow more positive accounts that make you feel good about yourself and unfollow negative ones
Pick a time during the day to put down your phone and completely focus on something else in your life.
Turn off social media notifications and flip your phone screen down when you need to focus
This week you might try a few ideas here or notice what works for you. We'll share some more next week. Cant wait until we expand our bubbles!