Managing my mental health during the Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to stay in their homes
and limit their outdoor endeavours to the absolute minimum. This prolonged lockdown period has taken a toll on people’s mental health, with teenagers and women being the hardest hit, according to a study conducted by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The study findings showed that 24% of people aged 16 and over reported facing at least one mental health issue much more than usual. In this guide, you will find ideas and advice to help make your life during the lockdown as meaningful and happy as it was before.

Why Teens Struggle with the Lockdown?

The main reasons most adolescents and young teens like you have a hard time coping with the lockdown include:

  • Missing their friends, boy/girlfriends, and social contacts.
  • Missing their support network.
  • The lack of personal space.
  • In-family arguments that increased during the lockdown.
  • Too much focus on schoolwork but no time for fun and enjoyment with teachers and classmates.
  • Difficulty in accepting that things like their prom or the end of school are cancelled, and nothing can replace them.
  • Not understanding the wider societal impact that violating the rules and breaking the lockdown may have.
  • Coping with changes in routine (food patterns, exercise, sleep, etc.) that get them upset.
  • Finding a way out of their urge to leave the house to prevent from lashing out due to the rollercoaster of emotions they feel during the lockdown.
  • Worrying too much about getting the virus and becoming unwell.

For teenagers already living tough home lives, staying at home has been devastating. At a time in their lives when they usually plan their gateway,socialise, begin separating from the family, and dreaming, comes Covid-19 to put everything on hold. This is enough of a struggle, right there. Things get even worse when teens are trapped in an abusive and toxic home environment (i.e., with mental health or addiction issues), with no way to escape. Overall, being restricted changes who we are. And this is scary enough by itself to handle.

How to Cope with the Lockdown to Ensure Mental Health

Some strategies/practices that have proven to help secure a healthy mindset and mental health are:

  •  Organisation – Establishing a routine will help prevent driving each other inside the home mad. Try to find new ways to arrange your days and, say, have time to video-call your friends, play games with them, cool off, exercise, or for learning. You could also consider helping with the chores or other practical things in the household. In general, taking responsibility contributes to a “we are all in this together” atmosphere that could help keep things between you and the rest of the family at ease.
  • Get enough sleep – No doubt, digital technology will play a much more vital role in your daily life than before, which is okay. Just ensure you get enough sleep and give your body and mind time to rest and rejuvenate.
  • Learn new things – Staying at home can be an excellent opportunity to learn new things or sharpen a skill set you have left aside for a while.
  • Exercise – Being physically active helps the brain produce hormones that contribute to a positive/good mood (aka the happy hormones).Plus, you keep fit!
  • Mind your eating habits – Maintaining a healthy diet and eating habits (i.e., not skipping breakfast) is a good way to assist the body in maintaining its healthy functions.
  • Volunteer – If your health condition and family environment (and government policies) allow it, you may find that doing something positive for other people is particularly fulfilling. Studies have shown that people who volunteer are happier than those that do not. Just some food for thought.
  • Setting yourself goals – This will help you get going. Being in a lockdown situation does not stop your life from moving forward or the Earth from spinning. Try to adjust and have something to look for by setting short-term goals. Each time you reach a milestone, you will have the joy to feel the excitement of success. That, may change your perspective on how bad things are inside the home.
  • Have fun – Why not join a TikTok challenge that will give you and your friends the time of your life? Telling jokes and any kind of entertainment is good at this point to let go of some steam.

  • Don’t look at the news all day long– Watching the news 24/7 will only heighten your worry, stress, andanxiety levels. It is best to get information about the virus from reputable sources, such as the NSHand the World Health Organization, and perhaps have a look at the news once or twice a day (if at all).

The World Health Organization has some pretty good resources to help cope with the virus (i.e., stress issues and adolescent-related concerns about the virus). The same applies to the United Nations Population Fund. We also found this United Nations webinar on young people and mental health that may come in handy at this given time. However, you could conduct your own research and see what else is available in your country.

It is understandable that you will probably be sad about what you are missing, irrespective of how trivial or not others consider it. Maybe, even thinking about the future is difficult at this time. Remember, though, that nothing lasts forever. This, too, shall pass. And you will see that things will look different then. So, there may be opportunities out there for you, after all this is over, to make this world a better place for the rest of us!

It is understandable that you will probably be sad about what you are missing, irrespective of how trivial or not others consider it. Maybe, even thinking about the future is difficult at this time. Remember, though, that nothing lasts forever. This, too, shall pass. And you will see that things will look different then. So, there may be opportunities out there for you, after all this is over, to make this world a better place for the rest of us!