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COVID 19 related stress & anxiety in teens and ways to respond to it successfully

Updated: May 19, 2021

COVID-19 has been playing a big part in contributing to increased levels of stress and anxiety. You and your teen may have been performing hygiene precautions such as wearing masks or repeatedly washing your hands. The physical and social distance measures are especially hard with schools transitioning between in-person to online instruction, decrease in physical or in-person connections, and cancellation of indoor and outdoor events.

It might have even stalled your extracurricular activities or different hands-on occupational skills you were exploring.

This is a challenging time. You might be feeling a sense of loss, and frustration with these unexpected changes in your life during this time. On top of that, there are the added worry concerns related to the well-being of your friends and family. You might be experiencing feelings of fear or anxiety caused by separation or struggling with unwanted isolation. Remember you are not the only one feeling this way.

Uncertainty and these changes during the pandemic can take a toll on your mental health. Adolescence is a time of strong emotional, social, and cognitive development. Learning to cope with stress in healthy ways, can increase your ability to bounce back after stressful events.

Ways to cope with stress and anxiety related to COVID-19:

  1. Consider limiting news and disconnecting from your phone, TV, and computer screens once in a while.

  2. Head outdoors and get moving. Stay active even if it’s just going for a walk. Do activities you enjoy. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.

  3. Connect with others. Find creative ways to safely spend time with friends such as virtual movies and get togethers.

  4. Avoid excessive alcohol, drugs or other substance abuse as well as tobacco.

  5. Keep a regular sleep schedule.

  6. Aim to eat healthy well-balanced meals.

  7. Break school or work tasks into smaller steps and organize them in order of what needs to get done first. Then, do what you can.

As mentioned during these times of social distancing it is especially important to stay connected with your friends and family. Make sure to practise these relaxation and self-care tips regularly so you are mentally equipped to help others as well.

Also talk with somebody about your feelings and thoughts. If you feel excessive stress or even depression during this time, call your healthcare provider or mental health professional to learn effective coping strategies that work for you. Validate your feelings and know that you are not alone.

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