teenagers stress school mental health wellbeing

It it time to listen to the teenagers

I was recently asked by Brighter Spaces in Islington to write a blog for them.  Having a strong background in education, I decided to follow a regular theme of mine:  stress and wellbeing difficulties in teenagers

Something is happening to our teenagers and we, the adults, need to start listening. I have a background in secondary schools as I have only recently left the classroom in order to follow my psychotherapy and counselling career on a full-time basis. Over my teaching career, I have seen a massive shift in what is troubling young people.  It is far too easy to lay the blame on social media.  Frankly, I am bored of hearing that as THE reason behind the difficulties our young people are having.  We need to look beyond that and ask ourselves:  what is really going on?

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self care mental health stress sleep

20 Habits of Self Care

If you are someone who is wondering what “self care” is or what you can do to take better care of yourself, I would suggest giving this book a read.  In this book, Karin explains and guides you through what it means to take care of yourself.  Our modern world can be tricky and yet she explains simple and practical strategies that you can start your new self care regime immediately.

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Post traumatic stress disorder PTSD understanding and recovery and treatment

Towards a better understanding of PTSD

If you are a loved one is struggling to understand or recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I can highly recommend you read this book.

Rosalind Townsend is a psychotherapist with a wealth of experience in helping those who have had to deal with trauma.  We used to think that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was something that only those in the military would have to deal with and it was first called “Shell Shock”.  Now, the definition is much more realistic and anyone who has experienced a major traumatic event such as rape, a terrorist attack, being mugged or living in an abusive relationship can fit the criteria

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childhood emotional difficulties

The biology of our emotional life

Most children will go through a phase where they might find the world around them and the ensuing emotions a little tough to handle.  This can lead to anger or temper tantrums; poor sleep and a raft of other childhood emotional difficulties. For parents these phases can be equally tough.  Parent and child often do not have the coping skills to manage these difficult phases.  Parents often ask me if there is anything they can give their child to read that might make understanding what they are going through a little easier.

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survive results day

Surviving A level and GCSE Results Day

That day that everyone dreads is fast approaching:  A level and GSCE results day.  Sadly, the anticipation ruins the holiday for many young people and their families.  The stress of needing certain grades can play on their minds all summer.  Luckily for many, they will open the envelope and wonder why they allowed themselves to get so wound up. They will survive results day with a smile and a celebration.

 

But there will be those who sadly will not get the grades they were so desperately hoping for. 

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stress busting techniques

Workplace Stress Part 3

In Part 2, I looked at factors that can cause stress in the workplace.  Now, I am going to focus on some stress busting techniques in the workplace.  I have written about stress and work life balance before.  But here are some reminders and some new tips that are aimed at keeping the stress levels as low as possible.

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stress in the workplace

Workplace Stress Part 2

In Part 1, I explained our basic emotional needs and our innate resources.  I am now going to focus on major causes of workplace stress.

Firstly, it needs to be said that a bit of stress is good for us.  Helpful stress is what stretches us; makes us strive and learn new things and feel exhilarated.  Stretch normally happens when our needs are being met and our innate resources are being used and developed in a healthy way. It motivates us to perform at our best. But when that stress becomes overwhelming or constant and we never get the time to “rest and digest”, it becomes unhealthy and it can result in exhaustion or burnout.  And the result of that is often mental and / or physical ill health.

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stress in the workplace

Workplace Stress Part 1

In this first part of this series on Workplace Stress, I am going to explore the foundations of what we need in order to be emotionally and mentally healthy within the workplace.  Over the next few blogs, I am going to show you how to recognise and prevent stress in the workplace.

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sleep and wellbeing and mental health

O sleep! O gentle sleep! Nature’s soft nurse

Shakespeare knew what he was talking about in Henry IV, Part 2!  A good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and mental health and general wellbeing.

One of the first questions I always ask a client is:  tell me about your sleeping routine.  A disrupted sleeping pattern is usually a clear sign that the client is experiencing emotional difficulties.  It is not always easy to determine which came first.  But the link between poor or disrupted sleep and emotional and physical difficulties is very clear.

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exam stress and anxiety

Top tips for exam readiness part 3

Young people like you all over the country are busy revising for their upcoming GCSE and A Level exams. Anxiety and stress levels for you and your parents are rising. In order to make the most of these exams, it is important to keep an eye on your mental health and wellbeing. The next in the exam season series is going to focus on keeping the anxiety and stress levels as low as possible.

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exam stress and anxiety

Take a break!

Recently, an article appeared in The Daily Mail in which it was claimed that because of the pressure of achieving top grades at GCSE or A Level, there are parents who are cancelling or postponing family holidays.

As a teacher and counsellor, I think this is a really bad idea. What would be much better is to continue with the planned holiday but to help the child use the break in a constructive way as time away from home is good for the entire family. But the basic rule is: Establish a routine.

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exam stress and axiety

Top tips for exam readiness Part 2

Social Life: You need one. You cannot spend all day alone. Making time for meaningful face to face interaction (not on a screen) with your close friends will give you much needed down time and a shift in focus. But having chats with your classmates also allows you to gain perspective. You might realise you do actually know that complicated bit of Physics or you don’t know it quite as well as you thought you did and you need to revisit it.

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exam stress and anxiety

Top tips for exam readiness Part 1

Firstly, it has to be said that there is no substitution for hard work. You cannot go into the exams if you are not prepared academically. But more about that at another time. This guide is aimed at what you can do to prepare yourself emotionally for the exam season.

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exam stress and anxiety

Exam Time for Parents

We are edging closer to the time of year that parents and adolescents dread the most: exam time. For some the important GCSE and A Level exams are now less than two months away. In this first blog in the series, I am going to be focusing on the parents.

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work life balance

Wellbeing at work

Here are my top 5 tips that could help you minimise stress while at work.

1 Start and finish the day well

This could be as simple as ensuring you are not rushing out the door or running for your train. Children are always told: pack your school bag the night before. Well, we as adults should do the same. Preparation for tomorrow starts today. Get to be bed early enough that you get enough sleep. If you have a presentation tomorrow, pack what you need for it before going to bed. Check laptop is charged. Check your presentation is backed up. Pre-empt anything that could go wrong by preventing it before bedtime. And then on the journey, what can you do to relax? Read? Listen to some music?

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work life balance

Top 5 work-life balance tips

A lot has been said lately about out work-life balance and its impact on our wellbeing. A recent study in New Zealand found a four day week led to lower stress levels and higher productivity. Let’s be blunt: this option (in the UK it would be called “part-time”) is not an option for most of us.

Here are some ideas if you feel that work is possibly taking over too much:

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counselling and mental health

A therapist in therapy

We have all had times when the world becomes a little much for us. Mine was in my 20s when a severe bout of depression hit me. Back in those days it was called a “nervous breakdown”. Luckily that term is not used as much anymore. A “major depressive episode” would have been for more appropriate. “Episode” suggests it will be fleeting and temporary rather than something that is physically broken. A course of antidepressants and lithium followed and ultimately a 6-month course of psychotherapy. Although painful at the time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. By that point I was a teacher with a Psychology degree and a postgraduate qualification in Counselling. The irony did not pass me by. But what I learnt from it was invaluable. I was lucky that I ended up with a top quality therapist who helped me find my way through it.

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young people mobile phones mental health

Adolescents, Mobiles, the Classroom

A lot has been said recently about mobile phones and the classroom. Some of it useful. I am a teacher and a Human Givens therapist. I think I have an understanding of both the learning potential that a mobile can offer as well as its potential risks to the mental health and wellbeing of the child or adolescent. Yes, mobiles and everything that goes with them can be damaging to our mental health. Well, pollution is bad for our mental health. Does that mean we all have to escape the city and live in the countryside? The mobile phone is here to stay. Instead of trying to ban them from schools, we would be much wiser to engage with the teenagers’ model of reality and learn with them how we can use the mobile in a way that is productive.

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divorce and young children mental health

Divorce and children

I recently saw a 10-year-old boy who was struggling with his parents’ breakup. He was living with his mother and younger brother and had regular contact with his father over Skype. On the surface he was coping quite well and school mentioned that he was showing signs of acceptance but what they had noticed were moments of anger outbursts and a drop in his academic performance.

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anxiety school mental health

Anxiety in the Classroom

The following is based on personal anecdotal experience within the classroom and from my private practice and I am not going to attempt to put any scholastic or proven scientific research behind it.

What are the causes of the stress and anxiety?

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school mental health wellbeing counselling

Therapy in the classroom

Being a Human Givens practitioner means accepting the premise of the approach: we all have emotional needs. Here is my take on applying the relevant ones to the classroom.

  1. Security

Each pupil needs to feel safe in the classroom. As a teacher, I need to create an environment where it is safe to ask and answer a question. Too often pupils are scared to speak up out of the fear of being wrong. It is my responsibility to make it clear that it is safe to make mistakes. Getting things wrong is part of learning. Why is it wrong? How do I get to a more correct answer? Is there even a correct answer? Sometimes this might mean having to explore more of a Growth Mindset by reframing in the following way: You might not know the answer YET.

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