This week we have a special lead introduction from Catie McNamara, Director Student Welfare Services..
How To Handle Fears About the Future: A guide for Students
Life as a student was probably already stressful enough, and then along came COVID-19 to add even more uncertainty. You might be finding the resultant situation hard to deal with.
You might be experiencing fear of the future in the short term (next week, next term) as well as in the distant future (end of the year, next year, and beyond). As a result, you may be experiencing a range of different emotions, including stress, fear, uncertainty, depression, frustration, anger and disappointment.
While these emotions are understandable, they are also very distracting and can have negative impacts on her health and mood. Worrying about the future gets in the way of enjoying and making the most of the present. Luckily, there are some strategies for managing our worries about the future so that we are able to re-focus on and enjoy the present as much as possible.
Ways to Cope
Feel Prepared, come what may
For those of us who cope by having a plan, it might be useful to sit and write yourself two plans: Plan A (what you would want to do if things were “normal”) and Plan B (your best choice of what to do if things are not “normal”) Plan B can be a productive or fun way to spend the next period of time if you are not able to adopt Plan A.
The aim is not to give up on Plan A, but rather to put it on pause for a little while. If you are unsure of a good Plan B, talk to a teacher or careers counsellor about it.
Be balanced and compassionate in your thinking, it’s important to be kind to yourself and realistic in your thinking. When you notice yourself worrying, say to yourself: “It’s understandable that I’m feeling stressed, as this is a very unusual situation. What’s the best thing I can do right now to care for myself and help me feel better?” .
Improve the Moment
If you find yourself getting bogged down in worries and negativity, try to improve the moment by doing something nice for yourself. Watch a funny video or a favourite TV show/ movie, play a game or spend time on an interesting hobby or craft.
Slow down to be in the now.
Spending a lot of time on screens can lead to feeling of frenzy or stress. Slow down by practicing breathing exercises, or doing some stretching, yoga or a mindfulness mediation these activities will reduce physical tension and the bodily symptoms of stress and help to clear your mind.
It’s really easy right now to think of everything that is pretty bad, but it’s usually possible to find things, big or small, to be grateful for. Using your gratitude journal every day might be a good place to start.
Your friends are probably experiencing similar worries and it can really help to talk about it together and support each other. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your friends you can get some support via the online community.
You don’t have to work out everything by yourself! You can talk to a teacher, your Year Level Coordinator, Head of School, or school counsellor or careers counsellor. They are all happy to listen and offer support.
You can also talk to a mental health professional via sites such as Headspace, Beyond Blue and Lifeline.
Director of Student Welfare Services