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Five Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy During Pandemic and Protests [VIDEO]

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by Zenobia Abrams, 16, Tri-Cities High School

A few weeks ago — actually more like a week ago— I found myself lying in bed, endless tears streaming down my face and snot going every place snot should not go, to the point where I had nothing else to let out. I can say with complete confidence that this was the lowest point of my COVID-19 experience, mostly because I had lost hope.

Whether it was “urgent news of rising death cases” or “escalating riots over George Floyd killing,” it felt like everywhere I turned something horrible was happening that I had zero control over. I noticed that while the majority of media highlighted protests and pandemic updates, it seemed like nobody was making a point to address the feelings and many emotions that come with times as stressful as these, and how we can better process each feeling without getting overwhelmed.

Especially as teenagers, we have to take it upon ourselves to check in mentally and embrace our emotions so we can understand them. Obviously, I don’t have all the secrets to help save the world, but here are some tips to help you gain control over your mental balance and change the world, starting within you!

What We Can Do About It

 

Create a Routine

Having a set routine helps you fill your time with meaningful activities while keeping your mind occupied so upsetting thoughts impact you less.

Get Your Body Moving

I recommend “moving your body around” rather than exercise because it sort of takes away the pressure of having to do some crazy intense workout to feel like you’re reaching your goal. There’s nothing wrong with getting your fitness on like that, but the main goal should be to get some type of movement in every day, regardless of its intensity.

Practice Mindfulness and Self Care

Getting used to checking in with yourself makes it easier for you to figure out how you feel and why you feel it. Whether it’s taking some deep breaths, full out meditation, or just glancing in the mirror from time to time, it’s really important that you gain awareness about how your mind and body feel so you can improve upon both!

Limit Media Use

Surprisingly enough, you have complete control over your media intake and can choose to turn off that TV or log out of Instagram if you feel like it isn’t good for you. A good practice can be to ask yourself, “Is this helping or hurting me?”

Reach Out to Friends

The simple feeling of being listened to and understood helps us in the most subtle, amazing ways. If you’re feeling like you need to get something out, call or text a friend to vent a bit and the results will show themselves. Also, don’t forget that it works both ways! Helping you feel better might be just what that friend needs to get away from their own worries. Helping others equals helping yourself. 

Do a Little Soul Searching 

Take the opportunity to find out more about yourself! What’s important to you and how can you use that passion to make a real difference? Soon we’ll be the ones making big decisions about the world. If we want to do a better job about living in a diverse, equitable, and equal world, what better time than now to begin?

You Are Not Alone

If you aren’t being told this enough, or at all, please know that your feelings and emotions are valid. No matter what your situation is or where you come from, you should never suppress those huge emotions and feelings that you have because they’re what make you so beautifully human. It’s 100% normal to feel angry or hopeless, like you’re spinning out of control or even simply falling. But the important thing, as my mom constantly reminds me, is to “never stay stuck there!” Remember that it will be okay —that you are okay.

Connect with VOX and me!

Please don’t be afraid to contact me through my Instagram (@zenobiabrams) or send a submission to  editor@voxatl.org to share your story!


Resources:

Helplines: Crisis Text Line – text HOME to 741741, www.thecalmzone.net 

Websites: http://teenmentalhealth.org/ , https://onemindpsyberguide.org/

Apps: Headspace, What’s Up, Mind Shift, Pacifica, Calm

 

 

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