I know every single email nowadays starts like this, but I really hope you’re all doing well. After a long, long time, it looks like there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel and a way out of the difficult situation we’re in.
Here at Adventures with Amara, we’ve always been passionate about talking about mental wellbeing – in fact, it was one of the very first topics that we decided to write. As a team, we were really lucky to be part of a school community where wellbeing was openly discussed, and we realised that this just wasn’t the case for others. Recent studies show that 1 in 6 children have a mental health problem, and the pandemic has brought a whole new wave of mental health concerns in young people. Isolation has played a big role (children are built to play with friends) and I even read recently that remote learning has led to things like ‘camera-on anxiety’ and a huge decrease in motivation. Mental health is something that clearly needs to be discussed more, so why isn’t it? Well, because there is still a huge taboo surrounding it. The only way to change this is by being open, and by encouraging conversation. If children grow up knowing that it is normal to talk about their mental health, then they will know that it is ok to get help whenever they need it: this is how we can reduce the problem.
‘Mental health’ can sound like a big, scary topic, especially to children who have probably never talked about it before. When we initially talked about our ideas, all of us noticed that we had never discussed mental health before coming to secondary school. The reality is, mental health is just as important as physical health. Everybody has mental health! your mental health lies on a spectrum; it’s never ever black and white, and that’s what we really wanted to help children understand through our book ‘Don’t bottle it up.’ Some days, everything can just be too much and that is ok. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to carry any of your worries on your own because there is always somebody who wants to listen and help you.
The pandemic has shown all of us that we need social contact. Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that they miss hugging friends and family, or something as simple as meeting someone for a coffee. As a university student, I miss being able to study with other people and yes, I even wish that I could’ve experienced an actual live lecture! It can get pretty lonely at times, but again, there are always people to support you. The thing that we want to emphasise the most is that if you’re feeling down, talking to someone is almost guaranteed to help. Whether it’s a friend, family or a professional, talking will give you a new perspective and often makes you feel like a bit of a weight has been lifted.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard these tips before, but if not, there are some ideas below for how to keep going through this lockdown. And remember, it will be over soon!
Keep a routine; if you’re working hard at school, make sure you schedule in some relaxation time because you deserve it!
Go for a walk – some days it feels like your brain doesn’t want to work. Fresh air will help clear the cobwebs!
Try getting some exercise. This can be fun! Why not try a dance fitness class? I’ve personally discovered yoga, and I love it!
Schedule in video calls. Maybe a friend can give you virtual company even if you’re both working, it’s nice to have someone with you.
Movie nights/game nights can give you something different to look forward to in your week
Try meditating, or journaling. Even art or music can help you to get out of your own head for a bit – I love a paint by numbers!
Most importantly, you come first! If you’re not feeling great, that’s ok – don’t invalidate yourself or put yourself down. When it comes to your mental health, you’re allowed to be selfish. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, especially if you’ve been feeling low for a while. Take a look at the links below for resources and information that I think could help!
Look after yourselves, and sending love from the whole team at AwA <3