Here in Scotland next week will see all primary schools back and a staggered start to secondary schools. As welcome as this news may be for some, the new normal for many teenagers has been sleeping all day and Netflix bingeing all night – making teenagers a bit Vampire like!
I know some young people have managed to keep to a routine and attend classes as normal, and that’s great, but for some this last lockdown has been a real slog. I myself am speaking from experience. I have two teenagers at home, and working a little more than full time at the moment to support peoples mental health – and with the best will in the world, the routine has gradually slipped. If you recognise your teenager in this, don’t feel bad – we parents are also living and surviving a global pandemic, and we can only do our best. My focus hasn’t been on losing out or missing out on school, but just getting through each day with next to zero stress levels and ensuring their mental wellbeing has been taken care of.
That said though, I know how important structure, routine and a sense of purpose and achievement are to a young persons mental health, and of course the more important part – socialising! There may well be some groans next week, but ultimately getting back to school will help fulfil the need for connection with their peers. These young people have also been holed up in their rooms for months, and will need some connection, laughter and fun as well as some schooling.
One of the areas we have noticed in our work with teenagers over this last year is the slippage in the basic fundamentals of looking after your health and your mental health and how important just a few small tweaks can be in improving mood, energy and day to day functioning.
In order to create a balanced internal environment (that’s the bit inside of us), then we must first lay down the foundations to support us and our mental health. These include what we eat (how we fuel our body), what we drink (how we maintain the body), how we move (what we do to create energy in our body) and how we rest and recover (the quality and structure of our sleep).
All of the above might be a bit out of whack or just some of it – but it really is the foundations to your mental health and with a few tweaks I’m sure you can nail this. Our lovely Julie has put together a short video on the importance of sleep, and how to get yourself into a routine and ready to bring your best self to school next week.
Happy napping and remember life is a journey, you don’t have to have all the answers or it all figured out. One day you’ll be telling your grandchildren about the time you survived a Global pandemic – let’s make sure you arrive at that stage of your life, with your mental health and wellbeing in tact.