Feeling anxious or worried is our body’s natural response to changes in our lives that may seem scary.
It is normal to be feeling stressed as we adjust to all of the “new norms” that COVID-19 has brought us like wearing masks, attending virtual school and not being able to gather with our extended family and friends.
First, your body needs its basic needs in order to process your worrisome thoughts.
These are a nutritious diet, physical activity, and enough sleep!
Did you know that skipping meals or eating foods high in sugar or fat can affect your brain’s ability to think clearly? Be sure to eat three meals per day + 1-2 snacks made up of a balance of foods from each of the 5 food groups. Read more about the food groups here!
Exercise also helps our body cope with stress! You can still do some outdoor activities during the pandemic like ice-skating or sledding, but there are lots of options for indoor exercise as well like yoga, dance classes or online PE classes. Take a free yoga class for teens here!
Meditation can be helpful too, so you can concentrate on replacing your negative thoughts with positive ones!
Teens that are sleep deprived tend to have increased anxiety and depression. Your body is changing A LOT as a teenager and your body needs at least 8-10 hours per night in order to get adequate rest. Try to stick to a bedtime around 9-9:30 P.M. and be sure to turn off all your screen devices at least 30 minutes before bed to help your body prepare for a healthy sleep!
Now for the hard part …
As part of tackling your worries, it is important to open up and talk about how you are feeling.
When we keep all of your worries bottled up inside, it can negatively affect our health. It is not easy to talk about your emotions, but you may find that many people around you are feeling the same way!
Start by writing down how you are feeling in a journal… you can jot down a few words or use these questions to get you started:
- What is something I am grateful for today?
- What is something I am proud of today?
- What is something that is in my control?
- What is something I will let go of tomorrow?
There are many people you can talk to if you are feeling anxious including your parents, other trusted family members, your family doctor or pediatrician, your school counselor, or even a psychologist or therapist.
Remember that feeling anxious is a common problem for teens and there are lots of tools and people available to help you take charge of your anxiety!
Good Luck, and Happy Parenting!
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