May 19, 2020
Helping Teens Cope With COVID-19
Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
Being a teenager has never been easy. This was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic. From changing hormones to navigating new and stressful social situations, anxiety is a common experience for a large number of teens.
With school and events largely cancelled, teens aren’t able to physically interact with their friends. A heightened sense of anxiety or depression can be common responses to these changes. Here are some tips to help teens cope:
- Find new ways to help teens connect with friends. Most teens crave social interaction outside of their family. This is the period of their lives when they start gaining increased levels of independence, and losing those avenues so suddenly is especially hard. Encourage teens to set up virtual hangout sessions with friends or participate in positive social media challenges, like the push-up challenge.
- Create distractions. Being stuck at home isn’t as fun as pre-COVID life. Encourage teens to keep their minds busy and help pass the time. Learning to bake, organizing movie marathons or practicing yoga or meditation are some of the many ways to feed mind, body and soul during the pandemic.
- Accept their feelings without judgement. This is a tough time. It is perfectly normal for teens to feel upset that graduation was cancelled or that they can’t hang out with friends. Recognize that this feeling is normal and make sure they know it’s ok to feel this way. By understanding these feelings, you help to validate them and allow them to move forward.