This article was written by Alicia Raimundo, a Kids Help Phone National Ambassador. Alicia is also a mental health advocate and video game enthusiast.
Our world has changed. Due to COVID-19, school, home and relationships happen in different ways now than they did last year.
This year, I missed celebrating a milestone birthday, the births of nieces, nephews and cousins and supporting family and friends through challenging moments in person. I haven’t been able to see my family since February of this year and that’s been very hard. I know many people missed their graduations, weddings and other life milestones.
While the way I cope with change and my COVID-19 experience might be different than others, I feel it is important I support myself during difficult times.
Here are some ways I cope with change:
1. Allow myself to grieve.
For me, these milestones were things I was looking forward to for a long time. So, to cope with these changes, I gave myself permission to grieve this loss, like I would the loss of a friend or pet. This meant allowing myself to feel angry and sad. It allowed me to reflect on my feelings for a little while, acknowledge that they were valid and move on when I was ready.
The state of the world and the news often feels heavy for me, so when I start to feel this way, I do an activity that brings me comfort. I took time to reflect on what activities would help me feel calmer or recharge my batteries to feel stronger. For me, this is making a fancy coffee, playing my favourite video game or getting my frustration out by playing drums.
3. Focus on the things I can do.
It’s been very helpful for me to remember and explore what I can do, instead of focusing on what I can’t do. I live very far away from my family and I am not able to see them right now, so I try going on a socially distanced walk to a new place or try a new game online. Making a list of things that I can do or new things I want to try has been super helpful for me.
I set up specific times in a day to connect with family and friends. Finding a way to connect with them in a way — video calls, phone, texting — that makes me feel relaxed has been awesome. During our calls, we play games together, complain/vent together, or I even take my family and friends with me on a walk, virtually, with them on the phone or video chat. My friends who live nearby and I have been going on socially distanced walks so we can connect in a safer way.
5. Ask for help.
I have found it helpful to have someone to talk to during periods of significant change. I have been speaking with my therapist a lot. This is a great way to deal with my feelings. Other supports I have accessed include friends and family, and I have also called Kids Help Phone and used resources from their website and other local services.
If you’re looking for more information on how to cope with change, Kids Help Phone has helpful tips.
Or if you’re struggling with an issue — big or small — it’s always OK to reach out for help. You can contact Kids Help Phone for non-judgmental support 24/7. We’re here for you!
Kids Help Phone would like to thank Alicia Raimundo for sharing how they cope with change with young people across Canada!