A 2019 study found that spending at least 20 minutes a day outside can lower your stress hormone levels. If you spend more than 20 minutes outside your cortisone levels will be even lower. I know it's winter in Australia and a bit cold and wet but wear a parka and take an umbrella. Go with a friend if you need extra motivation. Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com.
June is Mindful Month at Smiling Mind. You can sign up for free at https://www.smilingmind.com.au. All you have to do is complete a short survey (2 questions). According to the Smiling Mind website, some of the benefits of mindfulness include:
The Butterfly Foundation has an interesting article on eating disorders and Covid 19. The stress and changes in routine brought about by Covid 19 can lead to a significant increase in eating disorder thoughts and behaviours. Butterfly Helpline Manager, Juliette Thomson, said, "eating disorders thrive in isolation so it's critical to stay connected with family and friends. Social media (when used appropriately), video calls, and phone calls – all play a part in making sure we stay connected. Set a time every day for a video call with a group of friends. Try to limit your exposure to news, and even then only at set times of the day, and only follow reputable sources. Practising mindfulness and engaging in journaling, meditating, chatting with friends, and other activities you enjoy can be extremely helpful during this challenging period."
The Butterfly Foundation has a helpline you can call - 1800 33 4673. Their website has resources about body image and eating disorders - https://butterfly.org.au. Did you know that it is estimated that 4% of Australians are currently experiencing disordered eating (https://www1.racgp.org.au). There is help available - a trip to see you family doctor is the first step. As a recovered eating disorder sufferer I can assure you that there is life after disordered eating.
Note: In Australia you can call Kids Helpline for 5-25 year olds on 1800 551800.
This animation shows two methods to deal with negative thinking - a life skill everyone needs!!!
Here are some resources to help deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the Coronavirus crisis (there are links below). I think it's fair to say that everyone is feeling a bit stressed and anxious at the moment. We are dealing with a global crisis unlike anything seen in your lifetime, or your parents' lifetime. But it's important to check the facts. The news is busy sensationalising the event which is contributing to people panicking even more. Athough they are using words like pandemic and life as we know it is changing daily, the death toll in Australia is very low. Measures are being taken to prevent the spread of this virus so that we don't put unnecessary stress on our health system and to protect the vulnerable. So just calm your farm - we will get through this. Visit some of the websites below if you need help.
I believe that getting your emotions and feelings out of your head and into the atmosphere or onto some paper is really helpful. It's like when you blow up a balloon and there's all this pressure building up inside it the bigger it gets until it eventually pops. But that pressure is relieved when you let the balloon go (before you tie a knot obviously). When our emotions and feelings remain in our heads we often feel guilty or ashamed about them, we go over them again and again and imagine worst case scenarios, we get stuck and don't move on. By talking about them or writing them down, it helps us to move on.
Catastrophizing is when you think that things are way worse than they really are. For example, when you get a zit in the middle of your forehead on the day of the Year 10 formal and you think that life is no longer worth living. Like, it's not great when you get a zit just before a big event, but it's not the end of the world. It's not in the same category as my Nana got cancer, or my Dad lost his job. When bad things happen, we have to put them in perspective and remember that it's probably just a bump in the road, not the end of the road.
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.
In her Back to School Stress-Management Toolkit for Teens, Melanie Greenberg suggests that one way to deal with school (or any other stress) is to distract yourself. The first part of this is to write a list of things that you can do to distract yourself. The second part is to do one of them. This engages the "on task" part of your brain instead of the "worry" part. The trick is to choose short activities that won't take too long. Avoid computer games, social media and netfix - they are sure to consume too much of your time.