Fed up with Covid | Advice for Young People | Jigsaw

Fed up with Covid

Fed up with Covid

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Let’s face it, it’s been a long, tough year. We are going the distance in the fight against Coronavirus, but understandably fatigue is setting in.

The public health announcements about how to stop the spread of the virus are clear, but the impact on our lives is significant. We are hearing from many young people about the countless disappointments and uncertainties they currently face. For many sleep continues to be affected, and motivation and drive is falling.

image of girl on her phone wearing a face mask
Right now, you need to feel comfortable with the choices you make. Do what is right for your own physical and mental health and the health of those close to you.

You're doing your best

News feeds are filled with stories of young people attending parties, freshers’ weeks and so on. What isn’t highlighted is the great efforts that most young people are making to stop the spread of the disease.

Many young people have missed out on exam parties, graduations, debs, holidays, new jobs and going to college. Lots more have been on the frontline in caring roles and in shops and supply chains. It’s good to acknowledge this to yourself and to those around you to counteract the ‘blame game’.

Decide on your boundaries and approach

The longer the pandemic and the restrictions roll on, the easier it is to become complacent. This can lead to us taking risks with our actions. We all have our own thresholds when it comes to risk taking and may choose to interpret government guidelines in different ways.

Rather than living with feelings of anxiety or fear of judgement, think about your own approach to risk. Ask yourself the following:

  • How are you assessing and weighing up the activities you do or don’t take part in?
  • What values are driving your decision-making?
  • Have you considered all the consequences of your action or inaction?
  • Are there external factors, such as family expectations or friends that are influencing you?

Feeling comfortable with your choices

You need to feel comfortable with the choices you make. Do what is right for your own physical and mental health and the health of those close to you. By putting some thought into this, you are less likely to make a spur of the moment decision that you later regret.

This will also help you feel more comfortable to hold your ground and stick to your choices under pressure from family or friends. If you have made a measured decision to do something, this can free you up to enjoy yourself more when you do it.

If you are struggling with your mental health, even if you feel it is solely related to the pandemic, now is a good time to think about what support you might need.

Stop playing the when/ then game

Many of us have been focusing on ‘when this ends’ or ‘when things get back to normal’. For example, ‘when this is over then my sleep will go back to normal’ or ‘when the pandemic ends then my anxiety will be fine’. This has allowed us to put up with some very challenging situations or to hold on to some difficult emotions.

This is manageable for a period of time and will get you so far. However, the longer we wait to do something about tricky situations or emotions the heavier the burden can become.

If you are struggling with your mental health, now is a good time to think about what support you might need. Bring your attention to how to make the most of or change the situation now, rather than waiting for something to happen.

Look for the bright spots

There is a saying in journalism ‘if it bleeds, it leads’. Much of our social feeds are filled with tales of woe and uncertainty about the pandemic. This can really colour how we view the world and dull us to the good news that is out there.

It might sound trite, but make a conscious effort to look for and share at least one piece of good news or positive event each day. By scanning our environment for the positive, we can start to recalibrate our perception of the situation and feel a little lighter.

Remember the big picture

As the pandemic continues it can be hard to maintain motivation. Try to remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing, whether it is school, college or work. Remember the purpose and meaning behind your actions. Imagine pulling back and seeing the current time as a speck on the complete timeline of your life.

Although it is tough, it will pass.

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