“How are you holding up?” is a pretty complicated question these days, especially if you’re in middle or high school. There are so many shades of “not ok” out there right now. Some people may be struggling because they are cut off from their daily lives, or are having a hard time adjusting to home school. Others might also be worrying about a sick loved one, or finding new expectations placed on them as parents make the best of difficult work situations. Still others might have their own health or physical safely weighing heavy on their minds. Feeling stress and grief, even if you are safely tucked in your own home with only boredom thwarting you, is normal in our current situation. It’s totally ok to be “not ok.”
We do have some resources to offer to help you support your mental and physical health. You’ll find suggestions for things like ways to connect with others, physical activities, and emergency resources, in the sections below.
Physical activity gives your mood a boost. Even if you weren’t much into exercise before, think about how much you used to move around just getting from class to class at school each day. Here are some suggestions for ways of boosting your heart rate.
Try a different online workout every day – Pop Sugar’s You Tube channel has a good selection.
Make your walks count – Download a pedometer app for your smart phone and set goals for yourself each day.
Locked out of your gym? Sports practice cancelled indefinitely? The YMCA has a bunch of free exercise videos available.
Circuit training – Get some sidewalk chalk and make an outdoor obstacle course. The kids in your neighborhood will love it.
Clean Your Room – Just sayin’.
Connect with Others
Fire up Zoom or Google Hangout, send out an invite (you can get fancy about it), and you’ve got yourself a party. Here are some ideas for online group activities.
Virtual dinner party – Coordinate the menu so everyone is eating the same dish, share a favorite recipe, pick a theme and go nuts on your table setting and room decor…
Game Night: Old School – Some of your old analog games might lend themselves to virtual gaming, as long as everybody has the game. Try: Battleship, Cards Against Humanity (of course we recommend the free printable Family Edition), Yahtzee or other dice games. You could also try Picture Charades (one player picks 5 found images and posts them on the screen, the rest guess), or Two Truths and One Lie.
Game Night: Fortnite and Beyond – We know we don’t need to tell you guys about online gaming, but in case it’s been a while, you might revisit classics like Minecraft, Words with Friends or Pokemon Go. Game Pigeon has a large variety games to play via text message as well.
Be kind to others, remembering that we’re all under stress right now, but also be kind to yourself.
Spend time in the kitchen You’re doing something nice for your family as well!
- Learn to make your favorite recipe, or challenge yourself to use only what you’ve got at home to make something new.
- Disney is releasing recipes for your favorite park treats (yes, even the churros!)
- If you like nihilistic humor with your simple recipes, check out the You Tube channel You Suck at Cooking.
Try yoga It feels good, and can help deal with unhelpful thoughts. You Tube has endless options based on skill level, target area, and philosophy, and there are apps for mobile devices as well.
Learn something new Many museums, schools, and other organizations are offering online courses and workshops for free. Finally learn to play guitar, or code, or speak Norwegian. Or check this post for more ideas.
Plant something and learn about how to tend it. There are succulents, flowers, and even vegetable plants at many grocery stores right now.
Meditate Check out this great series of coronavirus-specific guided meditations provided by the website Ten Percent Happier. Among them: getting to sleep, facing uncertainty, and loneliness.
Read a book! Shameless plug for the library here: we have a HUGE digital collection, check our catalog, or visit this blog post for more suggestions. We also have a curated list of Teen Health and Wellness titles here.
Ask for Help
The resources below are available for teens when things get to be more than you can handle. Don’t suffer in silence, reach out to someone. Remember this is an exceptionally hard time for a lot of people, and you are not alone.
24-7 Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
24-7 Marin Suicide Prevention: 1-415-499-1100 Call (415) 499-1100
24-7 California Youth Crisis Line: Call (800) 843-5200
24-7 The Trevor Project (LGBTQQIA+): Text “START” to 678678 or Call (866) 488-7386
Marin Community Clinic: 415-448-1500 Address: 3620 Kerner Blvd. San Rafael, CA 94901
24-7 Mental Health Association of SF “Warm Line”: 1-855-845-7415 The Peer-Run Warm Line is a non-emergency resource for anyone in California seeking emotional support. They provide assistance via phone and webchat to anyone in need. Some concerns callers share are challenges with interpersonal relationships, anxiety, panic, depression, finance, and alcohol and drug use.
San Rafael City Schools (n.d.) Mental Health and Wellness. [website]