Finding Calm Amidst the Chaos

Covid-19 has been around for months and has impacted the mental health of many teenager’s. With the on-going mental health struggles, it is important for teenagers to practice self-care once in a while.

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Gerad Altmann

The golden umbrella has the words take care of yourself written behind it because self-care is important.

By Ashley Wandling, Staff Writer

The alarm goes off. I wake up. Not even bothering to get ready any more, I grab my phone to check the time. There are 10 minutes until the class begins. Until then, I open up Tik Tok and proceed to scroll mindlessly. Maybe something will be on my for you page that stands out this time. Five minutes later it’s time to go to class, so I open the zoom for my first class of the day.

Once the zoom ends, I proceed to start my homework for the day. The rest of the day goes like that, alternating between homework assignments and zoom classes, with snack breaks in between. Homework becomes just another task to get done each day; another check off the checklist. At the end of the day, I go to sleep in the late hours of the night only to repeat it the next morning. It’s an endless cycle of mindlessly staring at a screen for hours a day.

While mental health is going down the drain, it becomes more important for teens to take care of themselves.”

— Ashley Wandling

This daily routine has become the new normal to many teenagers, affecting their mental health on different levels. Among all the chaos, teenagers are expected to excel in their classes to please their parents or keep up their GPA. High school was mentally draining before, however now it feels even more mentally draining.

It’s not just online students that have it bad; both in-person and online school are mentally exhausting for students. Whether you are staring at a screen or sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day, the schoolwork can be overwhelming.

So in light of all the chaos, taking time out for yourself is important! While mental health is going down the drain, it becomes more important for teens to take care of themselves. Taking care of your mental and physical health is the best way to lower stress and anxiety levels. Whether that means taking one day or a couple of hours off, there is no shame in setting aside time for yourself, even if the least you do is take small breaks in between zoom classes or homework assignments. Here are some self-care ideas for when you need a break from the chaos of life.

Self-Care Ideas:

Get Ready for the Day: As simple as it sounds, sometimes getting out of sweatpants and into a pair of jeans is what you need to bring yourself to a full mindset of focusing on the task(s) at hand. It can be as little as just changing clothes to taking a shower and washing your face. You don’t have to put much thought into the outfit, just something that will put your mind into a working mindset. Work doesn’t even have to be done, you could get ready to go on a walk, do a couple of chores, or just sit in your room and scroll on your phone.

Make Your Bed: Making your bed is a small task, but can change the course of your morning. When your bed is made, the room already looks a little bit cleaner and gives you one task complete for the day. No matter how good or bad a day is, you come home to a made bed.

The way Navy Seal Admiral McRaven addresses this concept to the UT Austin Class of 2014 is by mentioning that “…if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride…and if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made…”

Bubble Bath: A bubble bath is a more relaxing way to cleanse your body and relax your muscles at the same time. Using soap and bath bombs to fill the bathroom with a sweet or calming aroma, you are sure to feel refreshed and relieved of stress piling up. You can gather bubble bath supplies from the local Dollar Tree for cheap or any beauty store such as Lush or Bath and Body Works.

Listen to Music: Sometimes you just need to lay down and vibe to your favorite tunes to relax. It helps distract your mind from the current events of life and to help relax the mind and body. Slower music helps calm the mind, while faster music brings an upbeat mood. Depending on the vibe, there are multiple styles of music that can relax a person.

Watch the Sunrise or Sunset: Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, you can still view the beauty of the sun setting or setting as it creates a colorful array of oranges, pinks, and blues. You don’t need to travel anywhere specific to view the sun rising or setting. It can be viewed from your backyard or at a local park.

Do an Activity that Brings You Happiness: Whether that be drawing, painting, singing, dancing, baking, exercising writing, playing video games, etc, do something that brings you enjoyment. Any hobby will do. There are tons of hobbies out there to choose from.

Nap: Take a nap! Seriously. When your body is drained of energy, it needs a nap to recover. Even if it is a 10-minute nap, it’s better than no nap at all. Research says taking a power nap between 10-20 minutes will increase alertness and wake you up. It doesn’t take up much time to do and will be sure to recharge your energy, allowing you to focus on homework again.

Go For a Walk: The outdoors allows you to get a breath of fresh air. You could walk by yourself and vibe to music. You can pretend you’re the main character for a moment or just vibe around the neighborhood or through a local park works, whatever is preferred.

If you are still at a loss for what to do on a mental health day or to take care of yourself in general, here are some more ideas for any day. Remember that no matter how big or small, anything that involves taking care of yourself counts as self-care.