Young People’s Guide to the Unknown
I don’t know about everyone else, but the hardest part about the COVID-19 pandemic for me has been the “not knowing.” We don’t know when the world will return to normal. We don’t know if we’re going to get to celebrate Halloween this year or enjoy the winter holidays. Think about all the 18th and 21st birthdays. All the rites of passage, and last hurrahs of senior year that don’t get to be celebrated. Because we don’t have time to grieve or prepare, it’s difficult to cope with how we’re feeling. I feel like I have whiplash, and frankly, the common occurrence hasn’t improved my adaptability.
If you’re frustrated or angry about how our country is handling the crisis, focus on what you can control – you! Remember to social distance, wear your mask in public, wash your hands, and limit social gatherings. If you want to see your friends, think about who those people are going to be seeing. Be conscious and aware about how social circles overlap. If you’re returning to college and living on campus, your inner circle may shift back from family to friends. Make sure who the people you’re living and sharing your time with understand the importance of masks and social distancing in public. In such a dynamic environment, it’s important to keep your loved ones safe and informed, no matter where they are. Keeping the people, you love in a changing environment up to date and as safe as possible is a great first step.
So how do you balance all of the uncertainty swirling around your life? What do you hold on to? It’s important to grasp what you know and let go of the things you can’t control. You can control the time and effort you put into class, the kindness and consideration you give to yourself and the people around you, and how you keep your environment and yourself safe. You can’t control your government, your boss, the organization , the people around you, or even your friends, and it’s so important to remember that. You can only control you. It’s not healthy to dwell on the “what if’s” or the things that are out of your reach. As difficult as it may be, try and to stay positive as hard as it may be and encourage positive outcome conversation between you and your friends.
The most important thing is to be kind to yourself, which even I admit, is a piece of advice, I myself have a hard time listening to. Don’t punish yourself for your emotions or feelings. Everyone is handling this differently and your initial reaction isn’t something you can often control. Beating yourself down for something out of your grasp will just make you feel worse. Think about all the difficult things you’ve made it through before and the incredible strength you have within you. Practice kindness by making time for yourself to do things you know will make you feel better. For me, that was working out in the morning and journaling. For you, it might be walking the dog or watching your favorite show.
Sometimes when people tell me how strong I am, my first thought is, “I need a break,” or “I don’t want to have to be this strong anymore.” If things feel too out of control, remember to ask for help. I’m not saying it’s easy, but remember there are people who care about you and will be there. If you need to escape from the world or talk through what you’re feeling, reach out and tell them what you need to hear. It’s okay to need someone until you can get your head above water again.
Activities You Can Do During This Time
National Help Line: 1-800-662-HELP
You aren’t the only one feeling this way, and that’s so important to remember. Just because you feel alone doesn’t mean you are. Having to endure so much change so quickly can be jarring, frustrating, and leave you feeling lost. These feelings are nothing to be ashamed of. Take advantage of the resources around you. Talk to the people who love you. Take it one day at a time, because through everything you’ve had to endure, you’ve made it, and you’re doing great!
This blog was written by Ali, a Healthy Young NV Youth Advisory Council Member.