Written by Janelle Horning, PTA and youth education leader at her church
News & Updates
Being a teenager during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy. Schooling has switched to online learning which is a challenge, social events have been cancelled and you can’t even go outside to play pick up with your friends. The pandemic has changed our way of living, how we interact with our friends and forced us to stay home and spend more time with our families. This may or may not be a good thing in the mind of a teenager. However, it is important to find ways to get motivated and active again! Being a teenager presents many challenges, but with some encouragement, character, and grit, we can all make it through this pandemic.
Here are 10 tips to help you get through this unprecedented time.
- Get into a Routine. Since your standard school schedule is gone, let’s focus on getting back to the basics. Try to set an alarm to wake yourself up in the morning…maybe it’s not 6am as was typical to catch the bus, but something before noon is encouraged. Take a shower and make sure that you’re not wearing the same clothing every day. Eat breakfast, do some basic stretches to get the body loosened up, and go over a mental checklist of tasks/goals for the day/week. Communicate with your parents about what their expectations are for the day.
- Stay Active. Consider reaching out to your coach for workout ideas or preseason expectations. Go back to focusing on the basics for the sports you play and nail down your skills. (Juggling the soccer ball, setting the volleyball, nailing those 3-point shots for basketball, etc.) If you’re not a sports fan, there are a lot of great home workout ideas that you can complete at home without any equipment. Here is a link to a few exercise ideas.
- Set a Limit on Social Media/Phone time. We’ve all done it…had those moments where we glance at the clock and realize that we have been lost on social media for way too long. While social media can be a great avenue for being able to connect with people, it can be a huge time waster and motivation discourager. Set a realistic limit for phone/TV/social media time each day and then if you stick to it, plan out a small reward for the end of the week. You may be shocked by how much more you are able to accomplish.
- Help Out Around the House. Now that you are home the majority, if not all of the day, it can be easy to slack off and go through an entire day without feeling like you accomplished anything. I would challenge you to make a list of chores that need to be completed and then check them off one by one. Maybe it’s taking out the trash, organizing the pantry, or entertaining your younger siblings. All of these activities can help provide you with purpose for the day and aid in reducing stress levels around the house.
- Be Intentional About Schoolwork. This transition to online schooling may seem overwhelming and unconventional. Yet at the same time, look at this as an opportunity for you to better prepare yourself for the rest of your high school education or for college. Make daily challenges for yourself to increase your motivation levels. Ex: Complete my math assignment in under 45 minutes or read 30 pages of my book before lunchtime. Remember to take breaks to stretch and get up to move around after sitting for extended periods of time. Here is a link to some simple stretches to complete during breaks from schoolwork
- Check in on Your Friends and Family. This is a challenging time for many as we are isolated in our homes and are not able to see our friends and family on a regular basis. Make it a goal to check in “virtually” with one family member, neighbor, or friend a day. Let’s all work together to improve the mental status of the people we love and care about. A little intentionality can go a long way.
- Research Potential Job Opportunities or College Options. Having more free time makes for a great opportunity to fill out applications for college and learn more about different career pathways that you may consider for the future. When the restrictions from COVID-19 are gone, consider organizing a time to job shadow at a potential career field that piques your interest.
- Drink More Water . When our schedules change, it can be easy to forget about the standard activities that we would normally complete on a daily basis. Such as drinking LOTS of water in order to keep us hydrated. Try to aim for drinking at least ½ gallon of water per day. Find your favorite water bottle and then do the math in order to determine how many time you need to refill it in order to reach your goal.
- Get Creative in the Kitchen. Learning simple cooking skills can be essential for helping you gain independence and confidence which will come in handy when you transition into college living or start renting your own apartment. The pressure and busy lifestyle of society can make it very tempting to order out often but being able to cook simple meals can aid in a healthy lifestyle and healthier budget. During quarantine is a perfect time to be able to learn cooking skills from your parents as you are in a setting where you can make mistakes and ask questions. Start with something simple: master scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon or learn how to cook your favorite meal.
- Learn a New Hobby. Whether it’s baking, calligraphy, wood working, magic tricks or picking up a new musical instrument, the sky’s the limit. See this season of “more free time” as an opportunity to try something new.