Whether you’re learning in-person or remotely, school is definitely going to be different this fall. And that means you’ll probably be dealing with some unique kinds of stress. Don’t panic. These online resources are here to help you look after your mental health. You got this!
JanSport’s #LightenTheLoad video series
This past summer, we started hosting a series of live conversations with therapists on Instagram, getting them to unpack some of our most pressing concerns, like how to stay in the moment or deal with uncertainty. We also asked some inspiring young people to talk us through their mental health journeys. Missed any of the sessions? The highlights are a must-watch. You’ll get useful, unscripted advice that’ll help you cope with whatever you’ve got going on during the pandemic—and beyond.
Raise your hand if you immediately grab your phone when you wake up in the morning. It’s natural to want to check up on social media first thing—but it could be setting you up for stress right from the start. Matthew Dempsey, a psychotherapist who took part in our #LightenTheLoad campaign, suggests meditating before you do anything else. “Give yourself a little time to start the day in that way,” Dempsey says. If you’ve never meditated before, apps like Headspace or Calm can guide you through the process and leave you feeling more relaxed in no time. Just remember not to then spend the rest of your day glued to Twitter, or you’ll likely start feeling anxious again. “Make sure you’re very conscious and intentional with the amount of time you’re investing in the news,” Dempsey says. (Psst, you can always tuck your phone away in an accessory pouch if you’re having trouble breaking up with social media.)
Journaling is a self-care practice. When you’re writing, you’re exploring your mind and perhaps uncovering thoughts you didn’t know you had. Even just jotting down some quick notes about your day can make you feel less anxious. And if you don’t want to write, you can always draw or doodle in your journal; both are great alternatives for expressing yourself. If you download a journaling app such as Day One App or Journey, you’ll be able to bring your digital musings with you wherever you go. You can also create a private blog or, if you’d rather go old-school, slip an actual notebook into your bag or waistpack so you can write down your thoughts whenever the mood strikes. The method is up to you; what’s important is that you take the time to reflect on everything you’re going through right now.
You’ve probably been doing a lot of video calls with teachers and classmates lately, but it’s important to schedule in some laidback catch-up sessions with friends and far-away family members as well. Chatting with the people you love will help you feel supported, so you can let go of some of that tension and stress. To get started, round up some friends and try one of these fun video chat activities. Get ready to laugh until your stomach hurts.
Feeling like you need more expert help to manage your mental health? The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has got you covered. Their website has tons of videos and articles on topics such as building resilience, figuring out to return to “normal” life, dealing with social anxiety in a pandemic, and more. Whatever you need, they can point you in the right direction.
How’s your school year going so far? Let us know on social media using the hashtag #LifeUnzipped!
By: Larry Stansbury