The restrictions in place during the Covid 19 pandemic have meant that we have had very little face to face interaction apart from the people we live with. As restrictions ease, most states are allowing people to gather in small groups (while still maintaining 1.5m distance). You can still connect with your friends online but that's not the same.
Covid 19 may have also impacted your physical activity as organised sports and gyms closed down. Why not get together with a friend (or several) to enjoy some face to face social connection and physical activity. You could go for a bike ride, walk the dog, go for a jog, do your own yoga, pilates or HIT session at the park, or go for a walk on the beach. If the weather is not suitable for outdoor activities, find an online exercise class or dance lesson to do together. An added bonus is that you can motivate each other to move your bodies and possibly get some fresh air.
NOTE: Please check the restrictions in your state.
We’re really good at sharing random stuff like what we ate for lunch, a blow by blow of what we did today, a rant about the latest episode of [insert latest popular Netflix series] but we’re not really good at sharing what’s really going on in our lives. We don't talk about how we’re going at school, how we're getting along with our parents, or things that we're scared of. Psychologists endorse talking as a way of dealing with stress. It's hard to be open and honest if we're too busy hiding our deep dark secrets behind our insta-worthy facades. Find a trustworthy friend and tell them about what's going on in your life. Ask them what's going on in their life too. Sharing helps - sometimes talking about stuff helps us to sort things out. Sometimes you might need to talk to a trusted adult instead - a parent, aunt, friend's mum, school chaplain or teacher. If you can't find a trusted adult you can always call a helpline.
Kids Helpline (5-25 year olds) 1800 55 1800
Headspace (12-25 year olds) 1800 650 890
Lifeline 13 11 14.
We've all had friends say it to us and we've all said it to our friends and family. "I'm fine" can be code for "I'm not really ok but I don't have the energy or words to explain and I'm not sure if you really want the truth." By asking "how are you really?" we are telling the other person that we care and want to help. Sometimes the act of talking about something can make them feel better. But if your friend shares that they want to hurt themselves or someone else, find an understanding adult who can help. Talk to a school counsellor, chaplain or teacher, a parent, aunty, family friend or someone else you can trust.
Everyone encounters mean girls, especially during your teens. On her Enlighten Education blog, Danielle Miller outlines some conflict resolution guidelines. She said it's important to be assertive, but not aggressive when dealing with mean girls. Sometimes how you say something, is more important than what you say. You can read the full post here (it's the Towards Safer Schools article).
The Supre Foundation, together with the Telethon Kids Institute and Headspace, have put together this fantastic little book about Bullying. It is full of useful tips and information about bullying, friendship, self-esteem and staying safe online. Best of all, it is free! You can pick one up at your local Supre store or download one here.
Sometimes you feel loneliest in the middle of a busy crowd. Everyone else is busy chatting and laughing in their cliques and groups while you're standing awkwardly on the outskirts. If you find yourself in this situation, more likely than not, your inner mean girl will remind you how much of a loser you are etc. Instead of listening to her, tell her to zip it and go and find someone to talk to. Chances are, they are feeling just as lost. Act as though you are confident, even if you don't feel it. You never know, you might make a life long friend.
It's important for young people to have adults in their lives other than their parents who they can talk to and spend time with. Maggie Dent refers to these people as lighthouses as they help guide the way. These people can be grandparents, aunties, teachers, coaches, friend's parents, youth pastors... If you haven't got someone you would consider a lighthouse, try to find one. Being a teenager is hard work sometimes and it's good to have someone to talk to.