(This article is for all of the homeschooling kids, tweens, teens, and college students out there. But if you’re the Mom or Dad: remember that your kids may seem better than they really are. Be sure to forward this article to yourchildren and other parents)
If you are young and homeschooling because of Covid, we’ve got to talk.
First, how’s your “school year” going so far? I know you’re strong and you’ve adjusted really well.
You’re resilience has been really impressive.
But sometimes it’s probably hard to complete your school work or care about your classes. On some days you may not even want to shower, clean your room, or talk to anybody. You might not feel motivated to do much except play video games or sleep.
I get it. I help a lot of teens at Positive Energy Counseling Center, and they all tell me how stressful homeschooling can be. Even though a lot of kids tell me the prefer not having to go to school, they also also feel more lonely, depressed, anxious, and super bored!
If this sounds like how you feel sometimes, guess what? You’re NORMAL.
This been a crazy year and you’ve had to deal with a lot of changes. And because a lot of these changes have been out of your control, there are some simple things YOU can to do that will help you feel a lot better right away.
(In fact, I tell most parents that their kids must do these things to prevent depression and anxiety).
IF YOU’RE COVID HOMESCHOOLING, HERE ARE MY TOP 3 TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU FEEL LIKE “YOU” AGAIN
(yes-they really work & are worth your time)
BREAK OUT OF THE BEDROOM!
Many of you like the peace and quiet of your bedroom, especially when you need to do school work. And I know how annoying the rest of the house may be for you. Leaving your bedroom means you have to listen to your Dad on a LOUD work call and your brother having another tantrum.
Others of you may be dealing with TOO MUCH QUIET because you’re home alone. With your parents at work and your siblings at school, your empty house can feel kind of weird and lonely.
But here’s the deal- you know it’s not good for you to be in your bedroom all day. You can feel it. Your energy is dropping. You feel…bored, isolated, or sad. You’re just not yourself. Sure, you love that you can play video games all day without your pesky parents limiting screen time, but you are also getting more numb and detached by staring at the screen all day.
It’s important for you to pay attention to how you feel and make some changes.
So….when you have a free period or a break in your day, leave your bedroom and:
-Go hang out in another room for a few minutes.
-Go to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
–Don’t eat any meals or snacks in your room.
-Eat with your family if they are home.
-Bonus points if you actually hang out with your family
(Hint for parents: you can make simple rules like “no eating in your room” for your child.
(Extra Hint for parent: when you child does leave their room, reinforce this by making it pleasant. If they are yelled at or are met with chores to do immediately, this may send them back to their room. Have structured time for chores instead so that they don’t hide in their room to avoid you.)
ACTUALLY TALK TO A LIVE HUMAN (OTHER THAN YOUR FAMILY)
When we spend a lot of time alone, the idea of talking to someone can seem exhausting. We can even start to feel like we’re a burden. Some kids even feel like they stress their parents out or annoy them.
Attention! Covid stresses everyone out, including your parents. Try not to take this too personally.
Human beings are VERY social animals- we need social contact more than we realize, so:
-Call, facetime, or video at least one friend or family member a day.
-Even if you don’t want to do this, even if you think you don’t “need” this, you do!
-If the idea of reaching out or making plans to chat with someone is too much, start by leaving a nice comment on a friend’s post on social media (or tag a friend in the comments of a post you want to share with them)
GO OUTSIDE TO FEEL BETTER INSIDE
It’s funny. Have you ever noticed that when your energy is low, you don’t’ want to move? You feel like such a blob. But when you do finally move your body around, you feel so much better!
Here’s the deal- you need to move your body everyday to prevent depression, anxiety, overeating, mounting anger, and moodiness.
-Exercise/move your body for at least 30 minutes everyday
-Go for a bike ride, take a walk with someone, run around the backyard, do an online WOD, jump rope, play a family game, shoot on net, shoot some hoops, play wii
-If you “can’t” find the energy to move your body, at least just go outdoors and get some fresh air.
-Sit on your porch, or back deck, or in the yard (wherever your parents think is safe)
-Do your homework outside or take 5-minute breaks outdoors
-Take a breath, notice the trees or grass, just chill
–Sit in the sun for at least 20 mins so you get Vitamin D needed to prevent depression
-If you are unable to go outside, open up a window or the blinds and let some light in!
After months of navigating the demands of online school and spending tons of time alone, it makes sense that your energy is low! If you try these tips, you can start to create a routine that will raise your energy and make you feel happier again. Start with these tiny changes- they will lead to big results!
ERIN WERNER, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Anxiety Treatment Professional for Adolescents and Children. In addition to her training with Beth Miller in Advanced Holistic Counseling, she earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Although Erin has worked with client of all ages, she has developed a strong specialty in adolescents, young adults, and families. As she began her studies in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Erin was immediately drawn to working with “difficult to reach” adolescent clients. She is truly passionate about identifying and addressing the needs of young people to help them reach their full potential.
Erin specializes in helping clients navigate through the challenges of anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, self-harm, and grief. She is also passionate about meeting with families inside a therapeutic setting in order to work on strengthening the communication within the family unit.