Managing our Wellbeing Through a Global Pandemic!
The WMF is running 'The Mindful Tribe' which is an online community offering mindfulness advice, online yoga sessions and support from qualified specialists! If you think your child could benefit from this, or to find out more information send us an email at email@example.com
Concerns for mental health in children and young people has been on the rise in the past few years, and the isolation and uncertainty caused by the pandemic in the last year have only added to this. Some children may also be experiencing loss and bereavement, perhaps for the first time. Lockdown, the loss of routine, online learning, lack of social interaction and support, and the pressure to be self motivated have put a huge strain on school students, and it can be difficult to acknowledge and seek help for something around which there unfortunately still exists a stigma.
It is important to note you are not alone.
According to the Lancet Psychiatry, children between the ages of 5-16, a massive 16% reported mental health issues in July of 2020, compared with only 10.8% in 2017. (the lancet psychiatry). Girls and young women have remained at the highest risk of developing mental health problems, with 27.2% reported in July 2020. For children and young people with preexisting mental health conditions or concerns, 83% have reported their condition getting worse as a result of the pandemic.
What can you do to try and control this? There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, but here are some coping strategies we have found to be helpful.
Identify your negative thoughts
Understand what might make you feel a certain way- do you tend to worry or overthink about the pressure of school? Do you find yourself in a low mood when you hear all the bleak news on TV each day? Once you have identified a cause (even if it is one of many), you can then work to eliminate this trigger, or view it in a different light.
Understanding and challenging your thoughts
These are not facts, they are your brain telling you to think a certain way, and you can fight against this. Work on reasoning with yourself- is it true that you will be a disappointment if you do not achieve all 9s, or is this your brain convincing you so, and twisting the reality?
It can be helpful to record your thoughts and emotions each day, whether this is a way of venting, or a way to help you keep track of your feelings.
As cliche as it may sound, fresh air and exercise can do wonders for your mental state. If you hate to run, why not go for a nice walk with someone you feel comfortable around, or start to cycle?
Again this may sound like a cliche, but try to get back into activities you enjoy. It can be easy to slip into a pattern of unhealthy habits (sleeping in bed all day, mindlessly scrolling through social media and so on), so breaking this pattern with a hobby you used to love can be really helpful. Even better if this is a physical or creative activity.
Talking about it
Accessing mental health support can be tough in this time, but it is by no means impossible. If you cannot or do not want to access formal support, even an open conversation with a friend or family member can be a helpful way to contextualise your feelings by looking at something from another person’s perspective. This can also be a great way to vent, and you might feel much better for it!
The most important thing is to use strategies which work for you, whether they are conventional or not. If sitting in bed watching TV all day genuinely helps you, please do that. Mental health is so individual, and it can be difficult to align yourself with the same generalised coping strategies.
It can also be difficult to ask for help, especially if you are concerned that your problems may not be ‘bad enough’. If you feel differently to how you usually feel, even if only by a tiny margin, that is enough, and you deserve all the support you can get to have you feeling like yourself again.
We want to support you and your children through this difficult time. We are running 'The Mindful Tribe' which is an online community offering mindfulness advice, online yoga sessions and support from qualified specialists! If you think your child could benefit from this, or to find out more information send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org