You graduated from high school, went off to college, or got a job, whatever path you chose—now is the time in your life that you are becoming an adult. It is a time you have looked forward to, planned for, and thought about for many years. You may have been excited and unsure of how to navigate this newfound freedom, and then a pandemic hits.
Now, what are you supposed to do? You are faced with a whole different kind of stress than you have ever experienced. How are you supposed to navigate this time in your life? How are you going to overcome the stress of becoming an adult during a pandemic?
1.) Know it’s ok to feel how you are feeling.
It is perfectly normal to be feeling sad, angry, frustrated, anxious, disappointed, or all of the above. You are allowed to feel however you are feeling. It is ok to not be ok with starting your adult life like this. It is ok to sit with these emotions, to let them sink in. It is ok to talk to others and communicate your feelings about becoming an adult (and anything else that is troubling you).
2.) Develop and maintain a routine.
Times sure are tricky right now. If you are in school it might be remote. If you were active in sports they might have been canceled. The best thing you can do right now is stick with your routine. If you exercised with a group every morning, consider exercising at home every morning. Try to eat and sleep around the same time every day. Keeping a routine will help to keep you feeling less out of control.
3.) Get good sleep.
The first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic it was so easy to stay up all night, binge watch movies, overload on junk food and alcohol, or other unhealthy behaviors. It almost felt like a vacation period for some. But, as you may have noticed, that time caught up with you. You probably started to feel pretty gross, unhealthy, foggy, and just plain miserable. It is important to maintain a good sleep/wake schedule, especially as you work on becoming an adult. You should be getting around 7-9 hours a night and avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evenings so that you can get good quality rest. Quality sleep helps to keep your mental health in check.
4.) Don’t rush yourself.
You might be feeling like you are losing time in this journey toward becoming an adult. You are getting older each day and you should be working towards your goals, which is no longer as simple as it once was. Be patient with yourself. You are not in control of this pandemic. Things will eventually get back to a better place. For now, focus on what you can do. Make a plan for what you will do when things open back up.
5.) Connect with others.
Human connection is so important, and yet so difficult right now. You might not be able to throw a big college party or study group but you can still call a friend, Facetime your study group, or hold a virtual book club or game night. There are a lot of different ways to connect safely. Secluding yourself is only going to contribute to feelings of isolation, sadness, and depression.
6.) Practice self-care.
This is all incredibly stressful. You need to take care of yourself. Go for walks. Practice yoga. Take up mediation. Take breaks. You don’t need to do it all today. Cut yourself some slack. Mental health days are a real thing. If all that e-learning in your bedroom is getting to you, shut down your computer and your brain and get some fresh air. Do something rejuvenating for your soul.
7.) Get help.
You aren’t expected to have all the answers. Times are tough. Seek counseling when you don’t know what to do. A counselor can help you process and manage your emotions healthily.
This too shall pass.
Everything surrounding the coronavirus and its toll is overwhelming and stressful. Your feelings of disappointment are completely valid. This is a difficult time to become an adult but you can persevere and become stronger on the other side. You are strong and resilient. We are here for you.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings for online therapy. We work with clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including those in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Williamsport. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to help get started to feeling better. Feelings of uncertainty, overwhelm, stress, and anxiety don’t have to dampen this beautiful time in your life. We can help.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: email@example.com.