Many people are struggling with anxiety at this time due to COVID-19, whether they or their loved ones are high-risk for contracting more severe forms of the coronavirus, or due to economic concerns. While adults may have the tools to manage their anxiety, teenagers are also experiencing high levels of anxiety and need the help of their parents to effectively manage their mental health.
As anxiety is one of the common issues teens at Sundance Canyon Academy have struggled with prior to attending our program, we wanted to recommend a number of strategies you can implement to help your teen get through their COVID-19 anxiety.
Help Your Teen Unplug From Social Media
One of the first things you should do is to help your teen unplug from social media. While social media can help your teen connect with family and friends, too much time spent scrolling online can amplify your teen’s feelings of anxiety.
So that your teen doesn’t feel like it is a punishment, you may want to institute social media-free times, such as at meals or a couple of hours before bed. That way, not only your teen can unplug from the constant onslaught of coronavirus news, but you can get a break too.
Go Over COVID-19 Best Practices
There is a startling amount of bad information surrounding COVID-19, from conspiracy theories to fear-mongering. To help your teen feel less anxious and out-of-control of their circumstance, go over the CDC coronavirus best practices, some of which are:
- Wash hands frequently
- Social distance as much as possible
- Wear a mask when outside, especially in areas where it is hard to social distance
- Stay home when feeling sick
By taking practical precautions recommended by health authorities, your teen can alleviate some of their anxiety, knowing they are doing all they can to prevent getting sick.
Be Appropriately Upfront About Family Finances
Millions of Americans have been financially impacted by COVID-19, which can be a source of anxiety for your teen. While full disclosure about the family finances may not be appropriate, you can discuss in general terms how the family stands. This step can be especially important if your household has experienced layoffs or furloughs.
Also, it can help to talk about how the family can work together to save money, such as taking turns making meals, cutting down on subscriptions, and other cost-saving measures. By helping your teen find actionable ways to contribute to the household, you can help reduce their financial concerns.
Refocus Their Attention To New Hobbies
Cutting household costs doesn’t mean your teen can’t try something new. Developing a new skill or engaging in a new hobby can be a great way to get your teen’s mind off of their coronavirus concerns and invested in something productive. There are a number of low-cost to free hobbies your teen can enjoy, such as:
- Learn to play an instrument
- Free coding classes
- Art (from painting to pottery)
Encourage Your Teen To Regularly Exercise
Exercise is an important outlet for teens, especially as Stay-At-Home orders may have curtailed your teenager’s regular workout routine. With regular exercise, your teen’s mood can be more easily regulated, as the release of excess energy occurs, and endorphins kick in.
If your teen needs some motivation to exercise, it can be helpful if you find workouts that both of you can do. Also, try out a variety of workouts, from taking walks around the neighborhood to doing an Instagram workout together.
Consider Distance Therapy Options For Your Teenager
While there are many practical ways to help alleviate your teen’s anxiety, therapy may also be needed, especially if your teenager is struggling with other issues, such as social isolation, depression, etc. Face-to-face therapy may not be the best option right now, but there are distance therapy options available.
There are many online therapy options for teens, with enough to choose from that you can narrow down by your teen’s specific interests.
If your teenage son can benefit from a more immersive therapeutic environment, Sundance Canyon Academy may be the place for him. Please contact us to learn more about our program and see if we can help your son reach his full potential.