We teenagers are young and lively people. We love to have fun, and we love the freedom and independence we get that lead us to believe that we can win both small and big battles. In this harsh exterior, a child has a sense of insecurity or fear of the unknown. It's not easy to bring out this insecurity. However, The COVID-19 triggered lockdown has meant experiencing multiple crises simultaneously, including financial and disease-related ones. The teenager's mental and physical health has suffered a lot due to this crisis. There has been an increase in mental health issues reported among teenagers as the unprecedented events of 2020 loom large on their minds.
For teens, the restrictions have meant-
· Months of virtual learning
· More time isolated from friends
· Cancellation of critical social activities like sports, school performance, graduations, and many more
A survey of 40 teenagers aged 13 to 19 evaluated their mental health on various parameters, including mood swings, optimism, family interaction, energy levels, eating habits, sleep cycles, and so on. Sleep and energy levels were found to have low ratings among these six characteristics. While the group of 40 teenagers does not represent all Indian teenagers, they do represent a significant school of thought that should be recognized.
The new ‘normal' is defined as spending 7-9 hours per day in front of a computer; constantly using gadgets to stay connected with the outside world, and adapting to new ways to stay calm instead of hanging out with friends at Starbucks or watching a movie with our families. We'll remember the transition from our old lives to our new ones long enough to tell our own kids. While the number of people infected and killed by the virus is reported daily around the world, the millions of children who are going through major mental trauma do not feature in any report or news article.
Peer groups and social interactions are a vital part of development during adolescence. But these opportunities were limited during the pandemic. Many teens can feel frustrated, anxious, and disconnected due to social distancing and a lack of regular social outlets, such as sports, extracurricular activities, and hanging out with friends.
Though the lockdown has had detrimental effects on many kids, every teenager is different, and every cloud has a silver lining. These include a stronger bond with family or the ability to make new friends via FaceTime rather than through traditional game nights. Many students were able to learn new skills and develop their talents as a result of the lockdown. The only obligation was that students reach out and make an effort to identify the silver lining. Some started doing home workouts and took up new hobbies like singing, cooking, vlogging, and so on. The lockdown had a certain beauty that encouraged individualism and a connection to the outside, natural world.
Being stranded at home taught some people that running away from their problems is a race they can never win. You will have to sit down at some point, apply your mind, and work on your thoughts and solutions.
Parents play a vital role in helping their teens cope with the stress of the pandemic. There are strategies that parents can adopt to help, whether their children are showing signs of problems. One of the most important things for parents to do is keep the lines of communication open; ask their teens how they are doing and create space for them to speak honestly and freely to provide help when needed.
Always remember, when it comes to your mental health, you are the one who can always make the biggest change. Make your voice heard; stay safe and stay positive! A personal suggestion, light up candles, stay calm, and hope for the best.
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