5 WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
by Abbigale Kernya,
Youth Editor, KBI Inspire Magazine
Our Youth Editor, Abbigale Kernya, is a first year University student with a passion for music, art, reading, and film.
Growing up in the twenty-first century is far different from any time in history. The youth of today are presented with the struggles of yesterday and the problems of tomorrow. While growing up regardless of the year presents its own set of mental health issues, this new age of technology brings forth unfamiliar difficulties with fresh solutions.
Here are five ways to make a difference in youth mental health:
We hear a lot about the negative aspects of social media, which does hold true, but there is always good within the bad. Social media can connect you to a community where you are supported and respected, provide a creative outlet, and a platform for entertainment. There is so much value within the world at our fingertips that can absolutely benefit youth mental health, but there is also a balance needed within the consumption. If you spend too much time on social media, it can become a form of escapism rather than a form of entertainment. Too much time online can lead to real-life feeling dull in comparison, which is a dangerous line to cross. Finding what balance works for your mental health is crucial in securing a healthy relationship with life on and offline. Setting screen limits and finding a daily routine can help keep your online relationship healthy and beneficial.
"As mentioned before, the world is scary right now. The news we see daily only adds to the anxiety that comes with growing up. Keeping everything bottled up inside will damage your mental health in severe ways."
On the topic of social media, perspective is everything when it comes to a healthy relationship with your online presence. It can be hard when scrolling to not compare our bodies, success, and happiness with the posts we see. Understanding that what you see online, especially from influencers, is a snapshot of a very calculated second into one person's life that does not reflect their true personality. Nobody has a perfect life, there is so much reality hidden in every photo on your timeline underneath all the photoshop and brand deals. It took me several years to realize that comparison is all about perspective. Social media tends to be one big competition to see whose life is better than the other. While you can easily fall into the rabbit hole of comparing yourself, recognizing that social media can be one big illusion into a false world can greatly reduce the pressure to achieve perfection.
It is no secret that the world right now is a scary place to live in. When life gets overwhelming either at work, with friends, with school or just in general, taking a break is a necessity. This is especially true with the younger generation who are faced with a monumental weight of expectations and stress on their shoulders, causing them to burn out faster than ever. Sometimes stepping away from the chaos even for an hour can have monumental effects on mental health. Whether a break looks like going for a walk, baking, talking to a friend, watching a cheesy rom-com or even petting your dog, having time to breathe and relax can help regenerate your energy to tackle life head-on again without burning out.
As mentioned before, the world is scary right now. The news we see daily only adds to the anxiety that comes with growing up. Keeping everything bottled up inside will damage your mental health in severe ways. Getting all of the stress and grief out of your system can help to alleviate the burden. From writing in a journal, calling a friend, through creative expression or even through an anonymous blog, talking through the stress and worry can help take the weight off and possibly even raise a solution to a problem. When someone isolates their problems, it can lead to tunnel vision that only gets harder to dig out of. Removing the pressure off your chest whatever way you see fit can help you see clearer and feel lighter in your mental health.
Learning to let go of things in your life that does not benefit you anymore can be hard. People grow and people change, it is normal to outgrow parts of your past as you develop. It is draining to try and keep someone or something close to you when it doesn’t reflect who you are anymore. Life is constantly moving and we are constantly adapting. When you have no room left to keep supporting something, learning to let go can help your mental health in the future and present. Whether it is a sport, a friend, or even a hobby, if it negatively impacts your mental health it may be time to let it go - and that's okay. Know that part of growing up is outgrowing.