In the last few weeks, the UK lockdown measures have eased in ways that a lot of us did not think were ever going to happen. Pubs have opened back up, we can eat inside restaurants, and the queues to get inside a clothes shop are the longest that I have seen for a long time. Living in a small town means that it is nice to see local, small businesses opening up again and serving members of the public. However, the anxiety that some of us are feeling makes the idea of going out to casually eat a meal again difficult to deal with. As someone who has definitely felt this stress and anxiety, I thought I’d collate a short list of things that have helped me in return to normality and might help some of you.
A couple of ways to help ease the anxiety you might be feeling:
For more information about how to combat feelings of stress and anxiety about the easing of lockdown I thought I would provide some links to further reading that some of you might find helpful. These are websites that I’ve personally visited time and time again whilst looking for advice, therefore having no association or sponsorship with Teenagers with Experience. I think the Mind charity does a really good job of explaining a plethora of feelings that individuals may be experiencing, not only stress and anxiety. In addition to Mind, is Rethink Mental Illness. Their website takes you through a series of scenario-based questions about returning to work, the ever-changing rules and the fear of catching or transmitting to vulnerable friends or family members.
It’s easy to think that you are the only person struggling with lockdown easing, especially when scrolling through social media and every other photo is of a person in a bar or with their friends they haven’t seen for months. Remember that social media is not an accurate representation of people’s lives, it’s a highlight reel of their personal best bits. The person who went out the night before may have extreme anxiety about going out in three days time.
Here’s hoping that some of this advice helped, don’t forget to share your opinions or advice. Helping each other is how we’ve made it this far over the pandemic.
During the coronavirus global pandemic, a lot of families were affected physically, emotionally and financially. It was a lonely period for many and some were separated from family. So many plans were affected, leaving people to pick up what seemed like what is left of their life. All these factors, along with the need to self-isolate led to loneliness being a global issue also.
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, spread rapidly in 2020, causing schools, businesses, cinemas, beaches and public events to be shut down. It was a lonely time for many with everyone dealing with their own problems. On top of these issues, it was even harder to talk about and share problems in such an unprecedented time as that, knowing that everyone was going through their own problems. Even in our everyday life, talking about your problems can make you feel guilty or even selfish.
I’ve even had my feelings of loneliness, where I felt useless. Having friends with online businesses or as influencers, going on social media to see the positive parts of their lives, because, face it… whoever shows the negatives? Constantly seeing quotes such as ‘’if you don’t make money or acquire a new skill during this lockdown, then you have failed.’’ During the lockdown, many people including me have often felt alone, especially with the constant negativity and bad news on social media.
Advice: However, through it all, I have learnt that while everyone is going through their own problems, it is not selfish to talk about yours or even to share them and you should not feel guilty for doing that. Life is a rollercoaster and people will generally only share their ups but not their downs, so while it can feel like you are going through this alone, don’t hesitate to seek help about it. It can often feel like life is passing by, while you are stagnant but the fact that we get up every day and smile as if nothing is happening is enough. If you don’t make money in lockdown, that’s okay. If you don’t acquire a new skill, that’s also okay, because for some, every single day that they wake up is a battle and they want it to end. The fact that despite everything you are going through, you wake up, you get up, you carry on with your day, and the next, and the next… That’s everything! Don’t let people set certain standards as to what determines success because at the end of the day, it’s all ‘fake it ‘til you make it’!
In conclusion, loneliness is an ongoing universal issue that is prevalent in our everyday world and not just linked to global pandemics so in order to cope with it, as well as the lockdown, just remind yourself that you are doing just fine by the fact that you are alive. Count your blessings! Think of all the good things in your life. Write down your problems and talk to somebody you trust. If you can’t talk to someone you trust, talk to an anonymous person as they don’t know your identity. Surround yourself with positivity and loved ones. Remember: it is okay to take breaks from social media and read a book or do something you love.
If you need to discuss your problems with someone, please consult:
Mental Health Ireland - https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
Jigsaw - https://www.jigsaw.ie/
SpunOut.ie - https://spunout.ie/
Samaritans – call 116 123; www.samaritans.org
COVID-19 - the virus that has changed life for every single person - is slowly coming to an end. It has been around since late 2019. Schools were forced to shut down, many people had to work from home, no social gatherings were permitted, and the whole world was shutting down. Many places were going into endless cycles of lockdown. As fast as they lifted, they closed again even quicker. Since 2019, four COVID vaccines have been approved: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca, with Pfizer being the only vaccine approved for those who are 12-17 years old. As a 15 year old, I have been waiting to be vaccinated so that I could return to my “normal” life. Fortunately, in May 2021, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for 12-15 year olds in California. I was so excited to finally be vaccinated. I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on May 14th and my second dose on June 7th. It is a huge relief knowing that I am finally safe and immune against most strains of COVID.
Due to the mass number of people being vaccinated, restrictions that were set in place to reduce the spread of COVID have slowly been lifted due to the increasing probability of achieving herd immunity in many areas. In California, the mask mandate was lifted on June 15th. Moreover, most shops are now open for in-store shopping and social distancing is not mandatory. Personally, although I am vaccinated, I still feel the need to wear a mask and be cautious of my surroundings. Some people may not be vaccinated, some might have a strain of the virus I am not immune to, and I am so used to wearing a mask that it feels weird not to do so. It also honestly feels like I’m breaking the rules when I’m not wearing one, even though they are not required in my state anymore. Essentially, masks give me a sense of protection and safety, so not wearing one, will take time for me.
Furthermore, I did online school for the entirety of my sophomore year of high school, and even a quarter of my freshman year of high school. Although my district did give us the option to take part in the hybrid model - two days in school and two days online - back in late September of 2020, I stuck solely with online school because I felt safer and was already used to it. However, schools will open back up in the fall and I will be going to school everyday, just like the olden days. I am quite nervous about this, because I haven’t been surrounded by and/or in places with so many people at once since March of 2020. Moreover, getting used to in-person schooling will also take time to adjust to due to the amount of online learning I have been doing.
As the world starts to open back up, you have every right to take your time and ease back into “normal” life. Try starting with smaller social gatherings, and then gradually move your way up to larger gatherings. Furthermore, never feel like you need to take your mask off or you need to do something that you are uncomfortable doing.
Although life going back to normal can be scary, it can also be extremely exciting! And I honestly can’t wait until COVID is just an event of the past.
COVID-19 has affected everyone in many different ways and has essentially changed all of our lives. Throughout this time, I learned a lot about my friends and our relationships. I became extremely close with some friends, lost and drifted from some friends, and also learned how toxic some people were.
In school, I had a close group of friends, which included me and three other girls, but I also had an extended group of friends which probably ranged between 15 and 20 people, as well as others. During school, I was with these people every day and it was really easy to communicate and stay in touch. However, this changed when we went into lockdown in March of 2020. I felt extremely isolated and was not able to see anyone for two months. I kept in touch with my close group of friends and a couple of other friends during COVID, however, I also drifted with many of my friends. I realized who my true friends were. Furthermore, I became aware of the effort I was putting into many relationships that weren't being reciprocated. Through this time I was able to realize how much effort friendships really took, and I also realized how valuable my closest friends are.
Unfortunately, I did have some toxic friends through this time that were not treating me or some of my other friends right. Toxic people, in general, are tricky to deal with, but my advice for them is to talk to them, tell them how you feel, and what you feel they could do to make you feel better and more comfortable. Then, give them a chance to change, but if you realize they continue to be toxic, cut your losses. There is no need for anyone to be involved with people who bring you down or treat you badly. You deserve the best!
Amidst the stressful situations that may occur throughout teen years, especially at home, school has always managed to be an escape in many ways for most. However, with the new remote-learning system in place, most of the benefits to school have been limited. Not only does this have an impact on students’ motivation to learn and put effort into their schoolwork, but also on teens’ overall mental health, as remote-learning deprives us of school’s social benefits.
For me personally, the switch into a remote-learning environment has hit especially hard, as prior to isolation, school had motivated me to succeed in school because of the social aspect that it provided. Spending meals with my friends, conversing with teachers, or just getting to leave the house each day was something I am sure many people looked forward to. However, it gets frustrating to be so isolated from the people you once saw everyday, and that is why many of us have lacked the motivation to stay attentive in our classes, among various other reasons. All that seems to remain of school is its endless stress from daily exams and assignments. I have noticed that many of my friends, as well as myself, fall victim to procrastination, as without the physical aspect, online school can lack the sense of realness, and therefore motivation to complete work has slowly perished.
However, there are many strategies that make it possible to overcome these hardships:
Overall, I am sure that every teen worldwide understands the struggles of keeping motivated during the introduction to this brand new school environment. Regardless of your potential skepticism, I encourage you all to push yourselves out of your comfort zones, and reflect on the bad or good habits that you may have developed over this unusual and crazy period of time.
Eating disorder recovery: Text 741741 (International)
National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255 (International)