It’s hard to fully understand the impact the coronavirus pandemic and the continued levels of restriction in place across the UK has had on our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
More than half of adults and over two-thirds of young people have said that their mental health has gotten worse during the periods of lockdown.
With school due to reopen and the promise of normality around the corner, children up and down the country are finding the idea of returning to school after lockdown rather daunting.
Managing anxiety and stress is the specialism of Holland Park’s in-house Mental Health Expert and Confidence Coach Gary Leboff, who has shared with us his four go-to tips for overcoming anxiety and apprehension.
Children have worries and the old saying of “a problem shared is a problem solved” is true.
We all need to feel listened to and understood. Talk to your child in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Don’t intrude on them or impose yourself on them, but gently begin making time every day to simply talk.
Make yourself available as much as possible
Children want to debrief and often when you least expect it. Make yourself available for them. Create a space for talking, joint activities you both enjoy such as walking together or baking together can be good places to start. Check-in with your child periodically, don’t assume they’re okay just because they seem it. Ask how things are going and empathise with them as much as possible.
Have a healthy sleep routine
Exhaustion can drastically affect the way we make decisions and interact with other people. Build a healthy sleep routine that can be maintained whether your child is attending school in person or not. The foundations of the day are built on a well-rested mind.
Coping strategies are things your child can use when they are starting to feel stressed or anxious. Speaking with a friend or family member, doing regular exercise or using breathing techniques can help calm the mind and put things in perspective. Focus on the present and avoid overthinking an issue too much. Overthinking can make a problem seem too overwhelming or unattainable. Focus on what is in your control, even if it is something as simple as remembering to regularly wash your hands or wear a mask when you return to school. Focus on what you can control and not on what you can’t. Be prepared and hold in your mind the notion that you will succeed.
Remember the positive habits you have picked up during lockdown, and most importantly be kind to yourself and empathise with others.
To find out more about Gary’s work and to book a consultation please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7034 0800.