5 Self-Care Tips for Teens During COVID-19 Make YOU a priority.
by Sheila Johnson
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COVID-19 has taken a toll on teens’ mental health. Between school closures, canceled events, and social isolation, teens are missing out on major life milestones as well as everyday connections with friends.
If you’re feeling lonely, anxious, or overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone. The pandemic is a difficult time for everyone and a lot of people are experiencing more stress, anxiety, and depression than usual.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to care for your mental health even while cooped up at home. Let these tips get your mental health back on track.
5 Self-Care Tips for Teens During COVID-19
Make YOU a priority.
COVID-19 has changed life at home for a lot of families. Some teens may have more responsibilities or feel compelled to help out as parents work long hours or struggle with childcare. While it’s good to lend a hand, it’s important to take care of yourself too. So take stock: are you working towards your goals and finding time for self-care, or does your to-do list have you stressed out?
1 Create a personal sanctuary.
If you’re struggling to balance school, family, and everything else on your plate, create a space where you can get away and focus on yourself. Options are limited for teens during a pandemic, but luckily, you don’t have to go far. Your bedroom is the perfect escape from tension and bad energy during the pandemic. You can even invite good vibes into your personal space with feng shui, smudging, and healing crystals.
2 Practice positive self-talk.
Are you your own worst critic? It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-bullying when you’re isolated and don’t have friends around to pull you out of a funk. That’s particularly true if you’re spending more time on social media comparing yourself to others.
When negative thoughts get you down, ask yourself if you’d speak that way about a friend. No? Then you shouldn’t say it to yourself! Replace negative thoughts with something you like about yourself and practice every time a negative judgment comes up.
3 Meditate your stress away.
Meditation is another mental “reset” button that every teen should have in their toolkit. Meditation can be a still practice, like the guided meditations you’ll find on apps like Calm and Headspace, or an active one, like yoga. No matter your style, you’ll reap wonderful benefits, such as a clear mind, calm outlook, and improved self-confidence.
Photo via Rawpixel
4 Keep your body moving.
Fitness options may be limited with fitness centers closed and extracurriculars on pause during the pandemic, but exercise is still an important part of staying healthy. Not only does regular exercise promote good mental health, but working out is also a healthy distraction when your mind is racing with anxiety. Keep fitness fun during the pandemic by using apps to compete in challenges with friends or trying out virtual fitness classes.
5 Should You Talk to a Therapist?
How do you know when your stress and anxiety has gone from a normal response to a difficult situation to a mental health problem you should seek help for? Knowing when to get help is an important part of caring for your mental health. It’s also really hard.
Therapy or counseling helps people work through emotional and life challenges with skills that last long after therapy ends. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s time to talk to your parents about therapy:
● Feeling overwhelmed.
● Struggling to control your emotions.
● Having difficulty taking care of yourself.
● Sleeping too much or too little.
● Struggling at school.
● Withdrawing from activities and relationships.
● Using drugs or alcohol.
● Having intrusive thoughts.
● Feeling hopeless.
● Feeling suicidal.
If you’re feeling suicidal, don’t wait to get help! Tell a parent, counselor, or trusted adult and call or text a helpline. It does get better, and it starts by asking for help.
The pandemic has been hard on everyone. If you’re struggling, there’s no shame in getting help. Use these self-care strategies to take care of yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic and when it’s more than you can handle alone, take the first steps towards better mental health with therapy.