International Youth Day - 12 August, 2018

Creating space to clear their minds

Sunday 12 August is International Youth Day — celebrating the role of young women and men as essential partners in changing our world, and raising awareness of the challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.

The theme for International Youth Day 2018 is ‘Safe Spaces’ and our Child, Youth and Family Program Manager, Kirstie Edwards, believes one of the most important spaces for our young people to feel comfortable is in their own heads.

“In an age of previously unseen or misunderstood stress and pressure facing our young people, it is important they feel they can let go of the worries that can plague their days, and strengthen their minds by exploring techniques to clear their headspace,” she said.

While it isn’t always easy to help young people navigate their challenges, here are some tips for young people to help them find the best frame of mind to tackle the issues ahead:

Sleep tight
Between homework, activities and time with friends, it can be hard to get enough sleep – especially during the school week. Ideally, adolescents function best with nine hours sleep a night. To maximize your chance of sleeping soundly, cut back on TV or screen time in the late evening, don’t drink caffeine late in the day and try to avoid stimulating activities too close to bedtime.

Focus on strengths
Spend some time really thinking about the things you’re good at, and find ways to do more of those things. If you’re great at a particular subject, you could tutor a younger person who’s having trouble in the area. If you are a caring person, you could volunteer with a charity or if you’re artistic, take an art class. Focusing on your strengths can help you keep your stresses in perspective.

Get physical
Physical activity is one of the most effective stress busters. Find activities you enjoy and build them into your routine, such as yoga, biking, skateboarding or walking. The best physical activities are those with a social element. Whether you’re into team sports, or prefer kayaking or rollerblading with a friend or two, you’re more likely to have fun — and keep at it — if you’re being active with friends.

Do what makes you happy  
Besides physical activities, find other hobbies or activities that bring you joy. It might be listening to music, going to the movies or drawing. Make a point to keep doing these things even when you’re stressed and busy.

Talk to someone
It’s so much easier to manage stress when you let others help you. Talk to a parent, teacher or other trusted adult. They may be able to help you find new ways to manage stress, or help connect you with a professional who is trained in helping people manage stress and make healthy choices.

Of course, Connect Health & Community offers a range of support and services for people aged between 12 and 25 years old. We can offer counselling, casework, reproductive and sexual health support and can meet you at school, at home or anywhere you feel comfortable. 

Call Connect Health & Community today on 03 9575 5333 to see how we can help.

If you are worried about yourself or anyone you know and need urgent assistance please call Lifeline 13 11 14. Connect Health & Community will be running a Suicide Awareness and Prevention Forum in September to help young people and their families struggling with life pressures. For more informaiton call Child, Youth and Family Services 03 9575 5333.

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