Hints and tips - 5 minute read
Lucinda Powell - Education Consultant in Mental Health and Wellbeing
For students in Year 11 and 13 life is suddenly not going to plan, many are saying they feel frustrated, they haven’t had the opportunity to shine, and unsurprisingly it is affecting their mood. If that sounds like you, even a little, then my blog aims to help you.
Here are 5 simple things you could try to help you find your PLACE in this unusual situation. Each of the headings below connects with at least one of the 5 ways to wellbeing - Give, Connect, Learn, Take Notice and, Be Active.
Your purpose over the next four months was to take your exams and enjoy freedom over the summer once the hard works was over. But because of the very real changes you now need to find a new purpose. This doesn’t have to be ‘the meaning of life’ purpose, but just making each day purposeful by learning, researching or preparing for the next step in your life.
These questions might help you think about this:
I know this sounds really boring, but it is essential, and you might find you have hidden talents such as cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning or managing the online food shop or working with excel spreadsheets - perhaps your new skills could help you find ways to save your family money on their household expenses which could help fund, say, a new mobile phone?
The health benefits from exercise are numerous and I am sure you are well aware of them too, as you get older they become even more important - your body is with you for life so you need to look after it, and trust me it is much harder to start exercising the older you become.
For me exercise is a routine, I’m middle aged now but was once an international athlete. Taking regular exercise has kept me in my prime, and that can only be a good thing.
Exercise not only keeps you fit, but did you also know that exercise helps memory, your mental health, stress, self-esteem and boosts your immunity too all of which are essential if you plan to continue with any form of education.
The NHS ideas for exercise is a great place to get started or learn some new moves.
Research is very mixed on the damage or benefits social media can bring. Clearly social media is important when we can’t see each other in person. Everything in moderation - make sure you have time away from your screen and spend time exercising or talking with your family.
Ensure that you aren’t eating mindlessly whilst using screens and play an active part when on your socials. There is some evidence that passive consumption such as scrolling but not posting or commenting makes us feel worse, watch the series of recent Emerging Minds Webinars, from April 2020, or read the RCPHC screen time guide for parents which offers some useful advice.
Do something every day that you enjoy, that makes you feel happy, that is indulgent, that allows you to be in the moment, not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. This is personal to you and may be different on different days too.
I love opening the curtains on a sunny day and having a cup of tea in bed but not when it’s raining; sometimes I like going for a hard run - other days that is the last thing I want to do. Allow yourself that time to just do something for you.
My best piece of advice though is to listen to Baz Lurhmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) - I graduated in 1999 and I listen to it regularly, it is as true now as it was 21 years ago!
Lucinda is a member of the Psychology Consultative Forum for OCR. If you are a professional in the field (Psychology lecturer, Psychologist, mental health consultant etc) and would like to know more about working with OCR contact us Subject.Forums@ocr.org.uk to find out more.
Lucinda qualified as a teacher in 2002 and taught psychology up until 2017 and is now working as an Education Consultant in mental health and wellbeing sector. Lucinda has worked closely with the AnDY Clinic at Reading University, as a coach on the School Mental Health Award at the Carnegie School of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, and also leads the Oxfordshire Schools mental health and wellbeing network. As a mother of 3 boys with a variety of special educational needs, she has plenty of personal, as well as professional, experience of supporting young people through their school careers.