Teens Facing The Pandemic
Our teenage years are a critical time of self-development. It is a time where we discover who we are and how we fit into the world. Deciding our future goals and aspirations is no easy task – especially during a pandemic. This past year has been particularly strange for all of us. The last time the entire world faced a similar scenario was over 100 years ago during the Spanish flu of 1918. No teenager today could have anticipated this current situation and the uncertainty of the future is causing many to feel completely out of control.
Sport tournaments, class trips, dances, prom, and graduation ceremonies are all important milestones most teens experience together. However, all of these events have been put on hold indefinitely. Losing out on these experiences can feel unfair. While social distancing is an important part of controlling the virus, being isolated at home can be detrimental to our mental well-being. Many teens feel cut off from the extracurricular activities they love. Being physically distant from friends and family can also cause us to feel alone and afraid.
How do teens look to the future when it seems so unclear? First of all, it is critical for us to still find ways to plan long-term and short-term goals. This pandemic will eventually end, and life will return to some form of “normal.” History provides us with many examples of how the world has bounced back from pandemics in the past. While it is difficult to make concrete plans right now (the rules and regulations change on a daily basis), writing down general goals can help us focus on a more hopeful future. Being too consumed with the current news can cause us to lose perspective. Taking time to think about our purpose in life can make us less “stuck” in the never-ending cycle of this pandemic.
Feeling hopeless can have detrimental effects on our mental health. The Globe and Mail reports that calls to crisis lines during 2020 jumped considerably compared to the year before. This is just one example of the growing need for mental health support in Canada. The pandemic is shining a light on an already existing problem across the nation. If you or someone close to you is feeling depressed, anxious, and afraid – reach out to someone you trust. Counselors, pastors, teachers, and loved ones can help. Being vulnerable can be scary but keeping our struggles hidden will only worsen the problem. Also, if you are feeling distraught over your circumstances and don’t know where to turn – there are many options available. CAMH provides many mental health services for the people of Ontario and you can find a list of number of crisis resources on their website - https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/crisis-resources.
Lastly, practicing self-care is especially important during this pandemic. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Being able to be there for other people requires us to take care of ourselves first. Setting healthy boundaries, having a manageable schedule, and finding time for hobbies are all ways of practicing self-care. If we neglect to rest, we will certainly burnout. Even when doing schoolwork from home, it is key to go outside and separate yourself from the virtual classroom. Too much screen time can cause us to become fatigued, so doing something as simple as walking around the block can help us significantly. Little changes that push us toward a positive direction can help us eventually move forward in big ways.
We at Westdale Community Centre know exactly what you may be going through right now. We know the pandemic plus the lockdowns have been very taxing mentally and we want to help y’all in any way we can. Maybe you need a break from the stress of school, but there’s nothing to do since everything in Mississauga is closed right now. Well we provide many services that include art classes, guitar/piano lessons, job help, fitness classes, and many more all for free!
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