If you are young, stuck at home with an uncertain future, it’s quite likely your mental health is suffering. Jake Cole is a wellbeing advisor at Exeter College and is well aware of the challenges facing young people. He advises students to research and reach out.
As I sit here not really knowing exactly what to write, I am struck by a sense of gratitude regarding my dumb luck - my front door backing out on to a sun-lit path, wild grass, apple trees and field maple surround our house which adjoins not one, but two footpaths leading straight in to the heart of the Mid Devon countryside.
I say this not to gloat, but to acknowledge the fact of privilege, in the knowledge that many have it far worse. I can’t imagine being stuck at home as a younger me – tensions would have likely been high and the lack of seeing mates, parties and beach trips all replaced by a virtual social world that is hard to navigate at the best of times, let alone when you can’t actually see people in person. I’m 28 and still find myself preoccupied with how many ‘likes’ or comments a friend’s post gets compared to mine and what that might mean, the resulting anxiety and low mood I get now would have been multiplied several times when I was at college.
I am a wellbeing advisor at Exeter College and part of my job is to support people with their wellbeing and connect them with support services to help with their mental health.
When chatting to people about their wellbeing during the pandemic, there are a few key things that come out again and again – difficulty sleeping; tensions at home; a sense of low mood; anxiety; difficulty exercising and keeping fit; sometimes all of the above, all at once.
There is no way for me to address all of these things here and you may be struggling with something entirely different to what I have highlighted above. Whatever is going on for you, I believe there are two key things to try out:
- Research – it’s so simple and often overlooked – have you tried searching on Youtube or Google – “how to have better sleep” or “how to workout at home”, “how to improve my wellbeing”. Be careful to vet your information and try to take information from credible sources. Young Minds have lots of credible information and advice for boosting wellbeing or tackling mental health issues. There is also advice for parents/carers on the Young Minds website.
- Reach out – you might be able to speak to a family member or a friend, a helpline or be referred to a support service. It’s normal to feel apprehensive or anxious about talking about difficult feelings, but it is a way of working through them and perhaps finding some relief or resolution. If you would like to know more about who to contact for support, please have a look at the NHS Every Mind Matters page.
As a result of reading this post, I hope you find yourself more willing to research some wellbeing tips or perhaps reach out for help if you need it.