Spending some time alone each day helps you to unwind and reduces stress. Life can get hectic and noisy so it's important to slow down and take a break from it all. You can create a cozy spot in your room to hang out or get out of the house. My favourite things to do during "me time" are to read, write, get crafty and listen to music.
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.
Note: In Australia you can call Kids Helpline for 5-25 year olds on 1800 551800.
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.