jent, Author at Jigsaw

A parent’s guide to Leaving Cert stress

It’s a nail-biting time watching your young person prepare for the Leaving Cert. In 2021, students were given the choice between sitting the exam, receiving an accredited grade, or both. Approximately 58% of students chose to sit the exam in some capacity.

2022 sees the Leaving Cert return to a more traditional format, while incorporating more choice for students. This document has the adjusted assessment arrangements for taking state exams in the 2021/22 school year. These adjustments are designed to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during the pandemic.

We asked Jigsaw clinicians how they support and advise parents and young people finding it hard to cope with Leaving Cert stress. They suggested the following strategies and tips to support your young person and cheer them up. They also advised how to keep yourself and your home calm during these challenging times.

A parent’s guide to Leaving Cert stress

Leaving Cert exam stress

If you’re feeling anxious about the Leaving Cert, you’re not alone.

In 2021, students were given the choice between sitting the exam, receiving an accredited grade, or both. Approximately 58% chose to sit the exam in some capacity.

2022 sees the Leaving Cert return to a more traditional format while incorporating more choice for students. This document has the adjusted assessment arrangements for taking state exams this June. The adjustments are designed to take account of the disrupted learning experienced by students during the pandemic.

The updated system might cause extra stress for some, in an already stressful year. Find tips for managing anxiety here. We also have more advice below.

In this article, you will find:

Leaving Cert exam stress

Starting college in 2021

There’s a big emphasis placed on starting college. It’s a chance to make new friends, pursue your own interests, and increase your independence.

But as with many things in the last 18 months, that experience could be quite different now. The pandemic has changed a lot of ways of life, with one of the biggest impacts being on education.

Colleges are due to open for on-site education in the academic year 2021-2022. Though while some restrictions remain in place, college might still present challenges.

Starting college in 2021

Difficult relationship with food

There are many things which can affect our relationship with food. As we get older, our tastes can change and our appetite can vary depending on our energy needs.

However, sometimes our relationship with food can become difficult or strained. We may start to feel self-conscious eating in front of others, begin to calorie count or restrict food.

In this article, you will find:

Why would someone restrict food?

There are many reasons for this. It can be a way to feel more in control when things around us feel outside of our control. It can be a way to cope with feelings of stress or anxiety.

Sometimes we can have difficulties with how we see ourselves, or don’t like how we look. This might make us try to change how we eat.

We may try to change our behaviour or our bodies, or attempt to ‘control’ our shape or our weight.

Difficult relationship with food

Dealing with unemployment

Most of us expect that after being a student at school or college we will get a job and embark on a career.

Lots of young people work to help finance their studies. However, particularly in the current climate, many are finding it difficult to find a job or a career. When facing the uncertainty around employment it is vital to pay attention to our mental health.

Dealing with unemployment

Online mental health support

Many face-to-face mental health services are now offering support through text, telephone or video-based platforms.

Technology provides great opportunities. But, it can feel daunting connecting with a clinician or counsellor in a new format. There are a few things to bear in mind if you access online therapeutic support or online counselling.

In this article, you will find information on:

Online mental health support

Coping with Christmas

Christmas can be the most wonderful or the most stressful time of the year, depending on your situation and outlook. Regardless of how you feel about the holiday, it’s clear this year’s Christmas is again going to be challenging.

Minding our mental health and finding ways to cope with any difficulties Christmas 2021 brings up, should be a priority.

In this article you will find:

 

Coping with Christmas

Fionnuala’s story: Living with someone who is high risk

Fionnuala (23), a Jigsaw volunteer from Kerry, lives with a parent who is it high risk in relation to Coronavirus due to an underlying health condition. Here, Fionnuala shares her story. 

I feel anxious about bringing Coronavirus home, it’s a big thing as I have a family member who is high-risk. With the figures going up and down, it’s an unknown, and I don’t like unknowns. I find myself watching the news and the numbers quite closely. It feels like continuous months of checking. In Kerry, they went really down recently, we had zero for a lot of days. Whereas yesterday it went up to 19, so I’m back to being completely restricted again.

Fionnuala’s story: Living with someone who is high risk

Setting boundaries with young people

As a parent, you have worked hard over the years to set boundaries for your children. To help them differentiate right from wrong and to make good choices.

However, as they get older many young people may seem determined to test boundaries (and their parents) to the limits.

Spend some time thinking about your boundaries and expectations and how they evolve. This can help avoid some of the conflict that inevitably arises as young people progress into adulthood.

In the article, you will find:

Setting boundaries with young people

Ask Jigsaw: Everything is overwhelming

I just feel everything is so overwhelming atm, like so much expectations and pressures coming from everywhere. A lot of the time I feel like I cant cope with things everyone else can deal with. I’m just slacking in everything and I sometimes feel like failure.

I tend to jump to the worst case scenario really quickly and I’m worried I might do something impulsive sometime. I don’t really know what to do or how I’ll stop feeling this way, i always convince myself facing up to stuff is too hard to do. Do u guys know what I should do? Thank you 🙂

-Aishlinn

Hi Aishlinn,

It is such a difficult place to be in when it feels like a lot is expected of us and that we are getting pressure from every angle. When we are feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to start anything and that can lead to feeling like a failure.

Ask Jigsaw: Everything is overwhelming