Guest post by Vicki Custer of the Long Grove Center, a CGCC Professional Member
the young people in your life seem more stressed and anxious than
usual, take them seriously: Out of all age groups, Gen Z is the most
stressed out by the events of the past year. School is stressful enough
and adding on a once-in-a-century pandemic surely doesn’t help. In fact,
according to the Huffington Post,
an annual survey on stress is raising the alarm over a mental health
crisis that’s gotten worse because of the pandemic and social unrest.
reported the highest levels of stress out of all age groups, with half
of respondents saying that they can’t imagine planning for the future —
understandably so, the survey noted, given their development stage. The
survey also found that both the young and old have mentally suffered
because of multiple sources of stress, among them: COVID-19′s impact, lockdowns, isolation, and the tanking economy.
This reality has led many parents to ask: How can I support my teen’s mental health?
them to share their feeling with you. It is important when they do open
up to you to display empathy by using phrases like “I understand” or
“that makes sense.” Many times, teens are not looking to you to solve
the problem, but rather it’s enough to know you are listening and
understand what they are experiencing.
positive feedback. During this time of constant togetherness, it may be
easy to notice things you may not like from your young person. Now,
more than ever, it is important to practice the Praise-to-Criticism
ratio. Meaning, for every negative comment, provide praise as well. This
will help teens feel that you are not just criticizing their every
power struggles. With the world so unpredictable, they might be
struggling to be in control. As difficult as it may be, empathize with
their desire to assert control in a scary time, rather than attempting
to fight back or overpower it.
Care for yourself. Showing self-care is a good way of modeling the practice for your teen.
Destressing Has Never Been More Convenient
is more important than ever for you and your teen to engage in
activities that help your brain move from a state of stress to a state
of relaxation. With both parents and their teens home a lot more often
due to the pandemic, taking time to relax has become easier and more
convenient with commutes to physical workplaces and school out of the
way. With your extra time, try some of these brain hacks:
Breathing – Practicing deep, natural breathing several times a day.
When we are anxious, we are most likely shallow breathing. To improve
your breathing, try this:
– Journaling about your anxiety and stress can soothe your nerves. In
addition, writing leads to clear thinking and this often helps with
clearer communication. Not sure where to start? Try this:
to Music - Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect
on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet music. Music can act as a
distraction while also helping in exploring emotions. It can be a great
aid to meditation, helping the mind from wandering. Need a song
recommendation? Try this:
of essential oils – Essential oils are scented liquids that
manufacturers derive from plants, flowers, and fruits. Research shows
that aromatherapy with some essential oils may help promote relaxation
and relieve anxiety. Try my favorite essential oils to relieve stress:
Orange, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Lavender, Lemon, Neroli Rose,
Ylang-yiag. They will have you feeling relaxed in no time.
– Studies show that yoga is a very effective stress reliever by lifting
your moods, allowing for increased mindfulness and increasing
self-compassion. Want a free Yoga resource? Try this:
Life May be Different, but the Future is in Your Hands!
no question that there will be a time when life will get back to normal
for you and your Gen Zer. For now, taking time to manage your stress
and anxiety daily is the most important thing you can do to support both
yourself and your teen.
If you, your teen or young adult are struggling with managing your anxiety, therapy may help. Give me a call at 847.821.1450