Information for young people who are struggling with their feelings about lockdown changing, and want to know how to cope.
The coronavirus pandemic has been hard for lots of us. And lockdown and government restrictions mean that there’s still a lot we can’t do, that we’re missing out on, and that we’re still worried about.
Lots of change and uncertainty can feel really stressful.
Also, during the winter, shorter days and less light can make us feel low in mood. This may make it harder to cope with lockdown and restrictions.
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 feeling different about lockdown and changing government restrictions, especially over the winter.
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.
"I’m worried that my anxiety and worries about germs will get worse once I go to college."
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’m a very creative person and I'm finding it hard to release this creative energy, it makes me feel a bit crazy."
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.
You may be facing lots of challenges now lockdown rules are changing, and some of the feelings you’re having may be hard to cope with.
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:
"Take time to reflect... be honest with how you think you’re managing lockdown, what strategies have worked for you in the past and how could you adapt them."
Spending time with friends and family, whether in person or not, can help us feel better and boost our wellbeing. You could:
"Find other people your age you can talk to. It really helps because we’re going through the same thing."
When things get tough, there are quick things you can try to reduce worry and panic, like:
"Keep yourself busy, doing things you love and things that makes you proud of yourself for finishing."
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 are some tips on supporting someone from a distance:
"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 15 January 2021.