To help, we’ve put together this guide of ways to support young people during the holiday period:
Check-in and listen
It’s important to let young people know that you are always there to listen to what is going on for them. Check-in with the young person in your life often and do your best to listen to what they have to say without judgement.
Keep them connected
Encourage the young person in your life to stay connected with friends and support networks. Remember that staying in touch might involve seeing friends and family in person, as well as online.
Keep to a routine
Help to keep a regular routine for eating, sleeping and exercise. Research shows all these factors are crucial in supporting mental wellbeing.
Be ready to negotiate
The summer can be a busy time of year with a lot of family and community events. While spending time with family and friends helps to keep us connected, it can also lead to stress and anxiety for some young people. Be open to negotiating with young people around events with family and friends and let them know that their wellbeing is a priority at this time.
Talk about your feelings
Normalise talking about feelings and let young people know that it’s ok to not feel ok. Reducing stigma around mental health is crucial in helping young people feel safe to reach out for support when they need it.
Let them know where to get help
Discuss the ways the young person in your life can seek support if they need it. This could be by talking to you, a family member, friend or a support service like Youthline.
Mindfulness is about being present and aware of the here and now. Too often in life we’re busy focusing on the future or worrying about the past. Mindfulness pulls us back to the present and reminds us that we are valued and loved.
People who practice mindfulness on a regular basis are happier, healthier, and more successful in life. Try these simple mindfulness techniques today and experience the difference for yourself.
A self-compassion pause
In this exercise, you sit somewhere quiet and take a few deep breaths. You decide whether you will focus on awareness of your heart, your body, or your thoughts. You acknowledge that awareness will help you to move forward with compassion. You hit pause on your thoughts and movements, and take time to notice your feelings as you experience them. If a thought comes to you, just acknowledge it, and wave it away.
Next, place your hand over your heart, take a few deep breaths, acknowledge your suffering and painful feelings as you experience them. Say to yourself. “This is what suffering (pain/hurt) feels like. It is part of being human. I accept myself and love myself just as I am.”
You can perform the five-senses exercise quickly whenever you need a mindfulness boost. It’s about experiencing the world with all your senses.
Start by taking a few deep breaths and bringing your attention to the world around you. Notice five things you can see around you. Try to choose things you wouldn’t normally notice – a pattern on a tile, a shadow against the building, etc.
Next, notice four things you can feel – wind on your skin, hard floor beneath your feet, texture of your clothing, etc. Then, do three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. While you do this exercise, continue to breathe deeply. By the time you finish, you will be in a mindful state.
The three-minute mindfulness
This is another quick exercise you can do to bring your focus to the here and now. It’s great if you have a busy mind and struggle to focus during meditation.
If you have a timer on your mobile phone, set it to alert you at one-minute intervals for three minutes. For the first minute, ask yourself the question, “what am I doing right now?” Focus on your feelings and sensations in your body, as well as the thoughts that come up. Give words and phrases to your feelings and thoughts.
In the second minute, focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths into your diaphragm, and release.
During the third minute, expand your attention from your breath out through your whole body. Focus on how breathing feels in different parts of your body. Observe thoughts as they pop up and disappear, bringing back your focus on your body.
Find more mindfulness exercises on Positive Psychology.
Have you tried mindfulness exercise or meditation? What benefits have you noticed?
How is term 4 here already?
Here we go, last term of the year and then freedom! Just a few hurdles to jump first, like all your final assignments, exams, grades, passing...yikes! It can all feel like a lot, but you got this. We've got some tips on coping with the feelings of anxiety that can creep up and feel overwhelming.
1. Reset your physical response
Calming your body lets it know there is no actual danger and so it doesn't need to move into a stress response.
2. Reset your thoughts
As the body and the mind work closely together, if your mind is racing, it will calm down when your body gets calm and vice versa.
3. Talk to someone about how you are feeling
Often getting some support and understanding, or even just a hug or some company can really help. Think about who is in your life who you can hang out with and cares about you.
4. Seek professional support
If your anxiety is feeling unmanageable, you feel like you need new strategies to deal with it or it's getting in the way of living your life how you would like, then talking to a professional can be really useful.