Information for young people who are struggling with their feelings about coronavirus restrictions changing. Includes tips on how to cope.
The coronavirus pandemic has been hard for lots of us
We’re here to help you understand your feelings, and give you some positive ways to cope.
This page covers:
"The rules aren’t clear and are constantly changing and I’m scared I won’t adjust quick enough."
Everyone will be experiencing different feelings about changing government restrictions.
You may feel relieved when you hear about the rules changing where you live, or you may feel worried or angry. You may not know how you feel, or feel a mixture of emotions.
"There is just always something holding me back from feeling or enjoying that it’s going back to normal, as if I am still in the mindset of last March but living now."
"Very fed up, exhausted with life, feel like there aren’t many good things in life to keep me going."
"I’ve been feeling very agitated. I’ve started to snap at people for no reason because I just want to be alone."
"My social anxiety has increased with going into shops, especially as I’m exempt from wearing a mask due to anxiety."
"As a sixteen-year-old, it makes me feel like the most important years of my teenage life have been wasted away and it’s time I will never get back."
"Unsafe living environment at times – gangs with knives entering my building block and intimidating me in the communal staircase."
"Adjusting to life returning to more normalcy after a year of being at home can sometimes feel slightly overwhelming and strange."
"The pandemic has forced me to face a lot of my demons, which I think is a good thing."
These are only a few examples of what you may be feeling right now. You may be experiencing several of these feelings, or be going through something completely different.
If you’re still struggling to understand how you’re feeling, you can visit our page on understanding my feelings.
"I find it hard to speak about how I feel so I keep it to myself which doesn’t always help."
Coping is our ability to respond to, and deal with, unpleasant, difficult or stressful situations. Our ability to cope with things can vary – we can cope well one day and poorly the next.
Coping strategies are things we choose to do in unpleasant situations, to manage our emotions and help us get through them, or to lessen how it will affect us. There are both positive and negative coping strategies.
Positive coping strategies are healthy ways of coping that are good for our wellbeing in the long term. You can find some ideas and examples of positive coping strategies in the tips for coping and adjusting section below.
Negative coping strategies are unhealthy ways of coping that can harm our wellbeing or cause other problems. They may feel impulsive or urge-driven. We also may not realise at the time that we’re using negative strategies to escape from something.
The negative coping strategies young people have told us they’re using during the coronavirus pandemic include:
To get support from organisations who can help, go to our coronavirus useful contacts page for young people.
While things remain uncertain, we can focus on what we can control and take positive steps to look after our wellbeing.
We asked young people to tell us what they’ve been doing to help themselves cope during the pandemic. You might find it useful to try some of the positive coping strategies they suggested.
Here are some ideas:
There are things you can do to help you understand and accept how you’re feeling, like:
"Find a way to release your emotions… write it, sing it, do it through art. Just find a release to let go of everything in your head."
Spending time with friends, family or partners, whether in person or not, can help us feel better and boost our wellbeing. You could:
"Talk to friends and family. Practice self-soothing and mindfulness. Focus on one thing at a time, at your own pace. Try to be honest and set boundaries with yourself, work colleagues and friends and family if necessary."
If things get tough, there are quick things you can try to reduce worry and panic, like:
"Use apps or websites as they can be a great start. You don’t have to wait until you get professional support to start getting better."
Taking small steps to recognise what’s in your control right now, and what you can do to plan ahead, can help you feel more settled:
"I’ve realised I’m more capable of making my own decisions without pressure from my school."
Looking after your physical wellbeing can have a big impact on your mental health too.
There are simple things you can try to look after your physical health, like:
"Take care of your basic needs – try to eat and drink regularly, brush teeth, have a shower."
If someone you care about is going through a tough time, it’s natural to want to support them. But with everything going on, you may feel like you don’t know how to help.
Here's some tips on supporting someone you care about:
"Reminding them you’re there if they need you and properly listening when they choose to open up, while continuing with your normal lives, is the best balance possible."
During this time, you may find you need more support, or want to connect with people who you identify with.
For a list of other organisations who can help, visit our coronavirus useful contacts page. Many organisations offer text or instant messaging services for extra privacy.
"The important thing is remembering that you can’t control the situation, but you can control how you react to it and how you choose to think about it."
This information was last updated on 21 December 2021.
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