No matter what the worldly circumstances are, being a teenager is one of the most difficult times in a young person’s life. However, the modern teen experience becomes increasingly difficult and confusing when a global pandemic ravages the earth. As a teenager myself, I can speak to the obstacles I have had to face as a young person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the Coronavirus presented me with new social and mental health issues, but it has also forced me to think innovatively about living in a healthy and happy way during a pandemic. Here are a few tips for overcoming the obstacles that come with living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the greatest challenges that teens face has been adapting to school online. As silly as it may seem, being forced to keep your camera on during zoom classes can be extraordinarily draining. I often find myself worrying about other students looking at me, fixing my hair, and ensuring that my eyes aren’t drifting. Not to mention as soon as I am done with my online classes, I have hours of homework that also needs to be completed online. Personally, I end up spending about nine hours a day online attending class and completing homework. Though there is not much that can be done to change how schools deliver their classes during this pandemic, here are some techniques I use to make my online education more tolerable.
- Get up two hours before class. First, I get up two hours before my classes start, so that I have enough time for a morning routine. I find that getting up early and taking a walk outside puts me in a better mindset for the day.
- Designate time for offline study breaks. After an hour or so of studying, I set aside ten minutes to do something else offline. For example, I have make myself a cup of tea, do a guided meditation, or put away my laundry.
- Avoid additional screen time. Finally, I have found that avoiding the screen after I am done with school really improves my emotional well-being. Instead of watching a movie with my family after school, I’ll pick up a book. Instead of scrolling on social media, I’ll bake some cookies.
As a result of the Coronavirus, my social life has also been altered. Not only am I spending more time with my family, but I also have limited contact with friends. I have had to learn to communicate more effectively with my family in-person, and with my friends over the phone. Spending large amounts of time alone in my room has felt isolating at times, but I have found some ways to connect with friends in a meaningful way.
- Host Virtual Gatherings. Having zoom game nights with my friends has quickly become a staple of our online “gatherings”. All of us will join a zoom call where we play various online games, such as Code Names and Tee-K-O, over the internet.
- Leave Each Other Gifts. Another idea we have put into action is leaving small gifts at each other’s doorsteps. One day I was having a really difficult time with my classes, and I was feeling pretty hopeless and alone. To brighten my day, one of my friends left my favorite coffee drink outside my door and sent me a text. Her kindness reminded me that there are still people who care for me, even when I feel isolated.
Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for people of all walks of life. It just so happens to be affecting how teenagers are functioning as they turn into young adults. My whole world has been turned upside down as I lose critical years of my high school education and meaningful social connections. Despite all these challenges, I choose to remain present and thankful for my health. Making these small changes has helped me to best accommodate what the world has become as the result of the Coronavirus.
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Is your teen or child struggling during the pandemic? We can help work with you and your child to cope with this new way of living. We are here to support you and your family!
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