You are probably in the middle of Spring Break. My family does not have any special plans this year because of scheduling conflicts. So we're anticipating some last minute local trips and activities these next few days. For now, we are home together just like any other day in this pandemic.
The effects of this pandemic has altered our life with distance learning, working from home, cancelled sports and on and off again openings of restaurants. Or maybe it’s just happening where I live?
Whatever it is for your family, the feelings of isolation and boredom are on the raise across family homes. The mental health of our teens is a huge concern among moms.
We are created for relationships. It’s what makes us human. Scientifically isolation causes the brain to shut down and be in survival mode.
Here are a few tips to help your teen overcome boredom and isolation.
Take frequent breaks outside. We can all get caught up in what we are doing in the compounds of our four walls. Spending an abnormal time in one small space can make it seem even more suffocating as well as the world seeming to come down crashing. Teens will complain of being tired, headaches and just plain fatigued. Stopping and getting yourself out for some fresh air not only wakes you up but also fills you up with the good old clean oxygen only mother nature can give and some much needed vitamin D from the sun.
2. Call/text a friend. Better yet, FaceTime. In this day and age, almost every teen I know has
a smartphone, an iPad or a laptop. So why not put it to good use to connect with a friend?
Studies show that face to face interactions lowers the risk of depression when we make
these kinds of connections. So mama, allow your teen to FaceTime!
3. Invite a couple of friends to do school together. This is one my favorites. With these
times of masks and social distancing, it makes it difficult to be in large groups and be in
school. I often encourage my daughter to invite two of her closest friends over and bring
their computer to log in on their individual classes. This is reminiscent of my college days
as we met for study groups. They are physically together, and are able to have real person
engagement and conversations in between classes and lunch. Not to mention help each
other while they work on homework or projects. Again, personal connection is everything!
4. Go hiking or play an outdoor sport with a friend or family member. There are so many
local neighborhood parks and trails that are dying for some human contact. My middle son
meets his school friend at our local park for a few hours of pick up basketball. It’s such a
great way to get rid of that pint up energy that would otherwise turn into anxiety.
5. Do an activity like video games with a friend or two. Let me guess, your teen likes to
play video games too? So why not encourage him to log on with a handful of friends and
engage in that way? Not a video game fan? How about encouraging your girl to host a
Netflix party where they can enjoy a film together at the comfort of their own homes?
Keeping conversations over a common activity keeps our kids engaged and feeling less
6. Join a sport or take a fun class. Now that sports and speciality schools are now opening
up, sign them up to try something new or continue what they have been participating in
prior to the pandemic. It keeps them out of the monotony of their rooms and provides a
space for them to forge new friendships, and be a part of a community.
7. Get a job or serve in the community. My oldest son expressed to me how we was
starting to feel lonely and sad. It was the isolation of being at home. So we advised him to
find a job. He did, and it worked. He needed to be around people. Safely of course, but
that’s what he needed. When we are working to serve other people, the focus comes off of
us and on the people or cause we are working for. That develops purpose, which in turn
allows us to feel good about ourselves.