If you are engaging in youth infusion during the pandemic, you might be affected by online activities differently than other people in your family or organization, including other youth and adults, too!
Youth and adult allies need to take care of their mental health, social health, emotional health and physical health. Since people involved in youth infusion can feel more responsibility than many others, we need to be intentional about taking care of ourselves.
Whether you are younger or older, here are some points you can learn to help with your self-care.
1. Watch Your Thinking
Online activities can be isolating for everyone, and being apart from youth and adults can be hard. Adults—including youth workers, teachers, nonprofit leaders and others—should reinforce to young people that they need to maintain their friendships and other relationships. We should do that too! It is actually an important way to develop and build lifelong communication skills, and can also make stressful situations a little more bearable.
Youth and adults should learn together to…
- Listen to your self-talk. You should give yourself credit for building youth infusion and not be too self-critical
- Keep things in perspective, try not to gossip, get the facts, and assume the best intent when possible
- Acknowledge to themselves and others when things are weird, whether during the pandemic or otherwise
- Remember changing to online activities can be hard work for yourself, and remember that nobody should be expected to get everything right
- Its essential to take breaks when needed
2. Keep In Touch
Youth infusion can be hard on emotional and mental health, especially when we’re working online! It is common for both youth and adults to feel more depressed or anxious during conference calls, video trainings, or other online activities, especially during the pandemic. Many people are still figuring out how to adjust to programs, learning and activities that requires so much self-motivation. This can make young people and adults feel guilty or stressed for not infusing youth enough into their organizations, movements or lives.
Adults and youth should learn together that…
- Communication and collaboration makes the distance feel less distant between partners, including young people and older people
- It’s important for youth and adults to take time to do things with people other than youth infusion activities. They should know that living youth infusion all the time can make it hard to separate from non-infused life from the rest of life
- Many young people and adults are dealing with similar hard things in online activities, and they aren’t alone
3. You’re Not Alone
It can be boring and feel repetitive to be on the computer for every interaction with youth and adults. Learning we’re not alone, even if we’re one our own at home during the day, is important for youth infusion.
Youth and adults should learn to…
- Talk to other people—including other students and adults—about what they’re struggling with and how they are taking action
- Find hobbies, ways to relax, and healthy places to process difficult feelings brought on by youth infusion, whether online or in-person
- Be encouraged to focus on the positives as much as possible
4. Move Your Body
Sitting in front of a screen all day is hard on your eyes and your whole body. Feeling responsible for youth infusion can add to those difficulties. Remember that, even though young people and adults are exercising our minds throughout the day, our bodies needs care too. In addition to helping with learning, moving can help with mental and emotional challenges too. Things like stress and depression can affect the body in physical ways too.
Youth and adults should learn to…
- Stretch, take walks and breaks, and get outside if they can
- Pay attention to posture and go easy on their backs
- Keep a routine with things like food, sleep, etc.
- Exercise to release toxic thoughts and stress, whether its simple or complicated activity
These are just a few thoughts about what young people and adults should learn about self-care. What would YOU add?