Counseling Resources for Middle School Students
How Teenagers can Protect their Mental Health During Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Recognize your anxiety is completely normal - We are all feeling a little anxious about COVID, social distancing, and how our activities are being cancelled--it’s normal!
- Create distractions (some tips below)
- Find new ways to connect with your friends - social media, check out a Tik-Tok challenge like #safehands
- Focus on you - Now’s a great time to learn something new, or do something you’ve been wanting to but didn’t have time earlier.
- Feel your feelings - When you have big feelings, allow yourself to feel them and move through it. Don’t stuff/ignore your feelings.
- Be kind to yourself and others - If you witness a friend being bullied, reach out to them and try to offer support. Doing nothing can leave the person feeling that everyone is against them or that nobody cares. Your words can make a difference.
Quarantine/ Shut-In Bucket List - Don’t let yourself get bored! Try some fun and free activities.
Click here to view the ultimate quarantine bucket list!
Helpful & Fun Apps
- Watch your favorite movie
- Write in a journal--someday your kids and grandkids will ask you all about this!
- Read a book
- Go for a walk
- Cook a meal for your family
- Research something you’ve always wondered about
- Play with your pet
- Workout (videos on youtube, Amazon prime)
- Rearrange or redecorate your room
- Write a letter to a resident of Avalon Care Center or Coventry House
- Create a short stop-motion film
- Take something apart (not something your family uses/needs)
- DIY something useful
- Interview a family member
- Youtube music videos from the 80s, 90s
- Your Mindful Teen
- Teenager Therapy
- The Teen Life Coach
Coping with COVID-19
What a strange time, huh? Things are changing day-to-day, and there’s a lot we don’t know and can’t control. We wanted to offer some suggestions for students to help deal with the stress and anxiety that is happening right now. Try some of these skills.
- LABEL YOUR FEELINGS
First, recognize what you are feeling. Some days will be better than others. Some days, you’ll feel scared. Others days you’ll feel better. It may change throughout the day. That’s completely understandable at this time and different people will have different feelings and reactions to the same information. Why should we bother labeling our feelings? Once you can identify your feelings, it becomes easier to manage them.
- DO SOMETHING FUN
I would encourage everyone to think of their favorite distraction activity now. Why? First, it helps your brain. When you are in fight, flight, or freeze mode, your emotional brain is in charge. By doing something distracting, you’re giving your brain a chance to come back online. There are going to be times in your life when you have gone over things in your mind, you’ve identified all the things to explain how you are feeling, but you STILL can’t get it off of your mind. That could be happening to you right now, you may not be able to focus on anything else - at that point, it makes sense to use a distraction skill. In my house, here are some of my favorite distraction skills:
- Watching TV
- Listening to an Audiobook
- Listen to Music
- Play a Game
- ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T CONTROL
There are some things you can control and some things you can’t. And situations like this one can highlight for us how many of the things we can’t control. Here’s a visual to help you understand the things you do have control over and the things you don’t have control over in your life. Instead of focusing on those things you have no control over, you can focus on what you CAN control, and that is YOU. You can control how you act, what you say, what you do, how you behave, how you respond to someone. Think about the sentence: How can I make this better?
- MAKE A PLAN
Now that you are focused on what you can control, let’s make a plan. You can use the problem-solving steps to make a plan to solve problems.
- IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM - For example, I miss my friends.
- GENERATE IDEAS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM - The next step is to generate several ideas for solving an issue. Not all of them will work, but you’re not trying to pick out ones that will and won’t work during this step. Right now, it’s just about generating ideas.
- Send them a card
- FaceTime my friends
- Email them
- Call Them
- Play a game online together
- Watch the same TV show and call each other to talk about it
- PICK OUT A FEW IDEAS FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEM AND USE THEM! - Perhaps your friend doesn’t have a phone, so you can’t FaceTime. But maybe you can email or play a game online together, or call them to talk.
- DO SOME MOVEMENT
The human body is pretty amazing. It allows you to think, move, and interact with the world. It allows you to express yourself. How your body feels can have an impact on how you are emotionally feeling. You can take a walk around your neighborhood while you practice social distancing. You can do some stretches at your house. You can play video games that involve moving like Just Dance or Arms. Keep yourself active even during this time.
- PRACTICE GRATITUDE
You can take a few minutes and write down a few things you are thankful for. If you find it challenging at first, focus on just 2 or 3 things. It doesn’t have to be significant. It could be that you’re grateful for how the sun feels on your skin, or that your friend makes you laugh, or that your mom made your favorite breakfast. Or it could be big things like you’re grateful for your family, people who love you, or your support system. You can write them on a slip of paper and put them in a jar. That way, you can physically see them all. Or you could take strips of paper and make a paper chain of gratitude that you hang in your room. Or you can write it in a journal.
This is going to be okay. Take care of yourself and practice a few of these coping skills. It will make a difference. We’d love to hear how they helped you and of any other ideas you have to share.