Welcome to our Youth Talk Blog, a section dedicated to youth lived-experiences with mental health and wellbeing, with weekly blog posts from diverse young people’s perspectives. This is a positive, fun and resourceful space, showcasing young people thriving and connecting with healthful activities, resources and support. This post has been written by Jess, our Community Education intern, who is a 23-year-old psychology student.
While lockdown has posed all its challenges, I can say for myself I have gained a skill from this experience: a strong sense of resilience. When you think about it, what we are all experiencing currently is unprecedented. Not long ago I would have had no idea what it meant to be in lockdown, or the process of isolating, and being tested for this virus. Whereas nowadays, these concepts are all very known to us. Especially in this specific lockdown in Auckland, we have been going through extension upon extension of restrictions, creating more uncertainty. Whereas last time, we were more aware it was going to happen for a long amount of time. So naturally, this has provided me with more skills in resilience, and I am sure many others too. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties and withstand adversity. Living with the restrictions lockdown has provided has given me the strength to bounce back from difficult situations and sometimes initial low moods and disappointments. It has provided me with the tool of remaining positive.
In this lockdown in particular, I celebrated my birthday, and while this seemed disappointing at first, I managed to have the most brilliant day with my flatmates who I am lucky to have with me. We made the most of the opportunities we had, ordering delicious food, which level 3 allows us to do. We laid around in the sun playing games and enjoyed each other's company. We enjoyed the freedom of having a day off, not worrying about work or university commitments. Another way I continue to be resilient and deal with frustrations is making the most of what I have, which is time. Because I have plenty more time to keep up with work at home, I make the most of the opportunity when feeling motivated to work, so I keep up with my work commitments which allows for free time. I am grateful for my ability to be able to work from home, and that I can focus, when I know for many others this can be a struggle. My trick to help me focus is making an optimal space in the home, with minimal distractions from devices.
Resilience can help us get through the hard times and extra stress and adversity this pandemic has brought upon all of us. However, resilience is not something we are born with, but something that is built over time, as what we individually experience interacts with our unique genetic makeup, which is why we all respond to adversity differently.
Experiencing positive emotions is vital for our resilience. This is why it is important to include as many positive emotion experiences as possible in your everyday life. These emotions can include love, joy, gratitude, interest, hope, pride, amusement, and inspiration.
I personally have found that focusing on what matters and what I can control has helped me keeping a clear mind and reducing stress. Another important factor which enhances positive emotions for all is being kind to yourself and others. It is important to remember that everyone is doing their best in these extraordinary times, and a little kindness will go a long way, a lot will be even better.
So, although this is an exceptional and trying time in many ways, it has made me stronger and more resilient towards adversity. In addition, it has shown me how precious life is, and I have felt an immense feeling of gratitude for what I have and what life was like in the ‘normal time’ previously. Let's remain hopeful and kind to each other, and we can get through this one day at a time.