Updated: Oct 7, 2020
The youth of today are experiencing tremendous pressures with exams, society, the environment, family and the expectations of others once they complete their studies.
The fear of failure or success is an added pressure as they spend hours of revision to get the A+ grades to either a) make it to the college or university of their choice or, b) get accepted for the career of their choice.
Education has become more of a chore, than a fun learning environment for our young adults, who have been studying for most of their lives.
Not only do they have the immense pressure of exams; they also have the burdens of societies expectations of them. Bullying, attempting to fit in; social acceptance, stress; anxiety; self-esteem; self-confidence; depression; fatigue all add up to the enormous amount of challenges our young people face.
It is stated 50% of young people will have a mental health issue by the age of 14. 75% of young people will have a mental health issue by the age of 21 (Mental Health Foundation).
I have highlighted some of my top tips to help gain emotional and mental resilience though this challenging and sometimes confusing period.
· Invest in a 'Stress Diary'
This can be a pocket diary or a journal on where you can begin to record your stress triggers as they happen. This will help you map out the times and situations which create stress within you.
· Avoid excessive stimulants like caffeine, colas and energy drinks
When people are under stress, they have regular activity going off in their minds, and by drinking such drinks you will add to the hectic highway of your mind. Instead, opt for white or green teas or chamomile teas which are known to be full of antioxidants and help clear the free radicals from your body and mind, allowing you to reduce any further stress.
· Eat Healthily
It’s far too easy to grab food-to-go these days and such convenience foods may taste good at the time, but the effects can be detrimental on your body. Fast foods are often laden with saturated fats and sugar which can add further stress to your body as it works very hard to try to break these down. Ry fruits, raw vegetables and nuts and seeds as an alternative.
· Have a technology free day
This is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. Tell your loved ones what you are doing and switch off your smart phone and devices and go out for the day on a trip somewhere.
Being unplugged for even a day will help your body and mind relax and recharge from the 24/7 lifestyle which is so easily adopted.
· Create a To Do list
Make a ‘to do’ list first thing in the morning and last thing at night, so everything you feel you need to do, is out of your head and onto paper allowing your mind and body to stay calm.
· Drink plenty of Water
Our bodies are made of more than 80% water so it’s incredible important to drink plenty of fresh clean water every day to keep your mind and body alert and hydrated.
· Get a good night's sleep
Ensure your bedroom is clutter free. Ensure all technology is switched off and phones are switched off at least an hour before bed. Sleep time is so important to rest the busy mind and active body as it’s been on the go 24/7. By ensuring a good night’s sleep, you are allowing it to process the day’s activities, regenerate the cells and re-energise it for the following morning.
· Talk to someone
Invite your kids to talk about how they are feeling and have empathy and compassion for them. It’s incredibly tough to meet parents and peers’ expectations and this can be stressful, especially, as they don’t want to let anyone down. Engage with an Independent Mentor or professional to communicate with your children.
· Focus on your breathing
People who are stressed often shallow breathe. By taking a few moments to take deep long breaths throughout the day you are not only expanding the capacity of your lungs, you are bringing your awareness to your breathing which helps you get out of your mind and into your conscious breathing. It is incredibly important to breathe. People shallow breathe (this is breathing from the chest) in short breaths and this creates more stress. By breathing gently and deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth, you are allowing oxygen to flow to your brain, which helps your body de-stress, as the brain then sends oxygenated blood to the heart which in return regulates your bodily functions to a more rhythmic flow.
· Spend time in nature
People spend far too much time indoors. Instead, go for a walk-in nature during the day to take a break from being in the confinements of 4 walls. Being in the stillness and beauty of nature quietens the chitter chatter of the mind and brings a sense of calm to the body. Take time to listen to the sweetness of birdsong and smell the flowers and hug a tree.
I am Kam Birdee-Wright, a Catalyst for Change, Mentor and Speaker helping people Unlock their Limitless Potential to live an Authentic Life of Purpose. The old systems are no longer providing the structure our young people need today. I help young people find and create a structure which works for them and supports their learning and growth as individuals.
I am passionate about the emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our younger generation and support them (and their parents) as they navigate their lives through the challenges they face each day.
With love and grace