Tips for young people:
In these challenging and uncertain times, it’s no wonder that many of us have been feeling increasingly worried or down. Now more than ever, it’s important to look out for — and look after — our own and other people’s mental health.
Below are a few tips that young people can use to promote their mental wellbeing.
1. Prioritise self-care and don’t forget the basics. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and other drugs, and doing some form of regular exercise. Keep doing the things you enjoy, and also take the opportunity to try something new (e.g., an online yoga class, cooking a new recipe).
2. Be kind to yourself. You might be feeling disappointed, upset, anxious, angry or a whole range of other emotions at the moment. Give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up for you, and practise self-validation by reminding yourself that these feelings make sense given the circumstances e.g., “It makes sense that I’m feeling anxious given that my work hours have been cut and money is tight”.
3. Stay connected. Given how busy our lives can be, it can often be hard to keep in touch with the people we care about. Now is a great time to reach out and connect with family and friends in meaningful ways.
4. Try to do at least one thing each day that gives you a sense of accomplishment — maybe something that has been on your to-do list for a while. This could be anything from sorting through photos, organising your room, making a budget, or completing an online course.
5. Spending so much time at home can get boring, so try to mix it up by varying the activities you’re doing (e.g., watch a movie, do a jigsaw puzzle, exercise, bake or cook, read a book, call a friend). Include activities that focus on doing things for others (e.g., cooking a meal, making something as a gift or writing a card, doing volunteer work).
6. Practise tolerating uncertainty. It’s an inevitable part of life and, just like other emotions, it’s important to allow yourself to experience uncertainty and any discomfort it brings with it. Practise sitting with it — notice where you feel it in your body and the content of your thoughts. Remind yourself that you’ve been dealing with uncertainty your whole life and that the discomfort will eventually pass. Despite the uncertainty, thinking about the future can provide a sense of hope. Allow yourself to explore and feel excited about different options, acknowledging that not all of these ideas will work out. Focus on what you can control, and what you could do to cope if things don’t go as you’d like.
7. Make a self-soothing box to use at times that you feel overwhelmed. Fill it with items that calm your senses or prompt you to engage in activities that do. Examples include photos of nature or loved ones, a list of your favourite songs, a scented candle and a hairbrush.
Most importantly, remember that you are doing the best you can, that it’s OK not to feel OK, and that professional support is available if you need it.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
For resources and stories on youth mental health, please visit: www.coolmindshk.com
For a list of emergency contacts, please visit: www.mind.org.hk/find-help-now/
For other local mental health services, please visit our Community Directory: www.mind.org.hk/community-directory/
For more information on mental health in Hong Kong, please visit: https://www.mind.org.hk/mental-health-in-hong-kong/
For more information on seeking help in Hong Kong, please visit: https://www.mind.org.hk/getting-help/
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