for August, 2020

Hats off to the Class of 2020

Posted on August 13, 2020 in Uncategorized -

Words by Dr Stan Steindl- Clinical Psychologist

Grade 12 in high school is such an important year in so many ways. Academically, of course, but also socially, in sports and the arts. Young people are traditionally having peak experiences during grade 12, and many of us might reflect fondly on experiences we had around that time. Not that it is all a bed of roses, of course. Grade 12 is also a very tough year, with lots of study and stress, especially regarding what’s going to happen next.

This year, out of no where, everything changed. All that was expected to happen basically vanished when COVID arrived. Study and exams were all different, young people had to be super-flexible and mentally agile to make all sorts of sudden shifts. For some, the transition worked ok, but for many there was increases in anxiety and stress, and at times depression.

Anxiety is a future oriented emotion. “What if I fail?” “What if I can’t get into uni or a trade?” “What if my dream job doesn’t exist anymore.” Young people are seeing the effects of the pandemic on the community and on people they know. And so, for example, dreams of being a pilot are now very uncertain.

Depression is largely a past oriented emotion. And often about things that have gone wrong, disappointments and losses. And young people in grade 12 have had many of those. Team sports? Canceled. School play? Canceled. Formal? Canceled. Let alone being able to hang out with mates on the weekend. And don’t forget, friends are such an important part of any young person’s social support and coping, and this is experienced as a great loss.

And so, what will next year bring? Young people in grade 12 face a very uncertain future. They know the economy has taken a hit. The know that many jobs have had to stop, and that the job market is difficult. They know that universities are struggling, and uni places are somewhat uncertain. But, knowing all this, Grade 12 students are starting to adapt. If not this, then what about that?

Young adulthood can be a time of great optimism and hope. Every day there are new experiences, new ideas and opportunities. And for all that is going on the world still does offer opportunities. The growth in certain industries has been phenomenal. From healthcare to deliveries, and anything online, there seems to be growth. And the opportunities for entrepreneurship are endless.

So where possible, we want to offer young people three key things: validation, reassurance and encouragement. Validation means validating that this really is as awful as they feel it is. This is tough, upsetting, and we wish it wasn’t so. Reassurance means finding words to reassure the young person that things will be ok, this too will pass, they will get there and the world will find its new normal. And encouragement is about saying “You can do it, I believe in you,” and exploring those possibilities, gently guiding things towards hope and optimism, confidence and action.

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Staying motivated during troubling times

Posted on August 7, 2020 in Uncategorized -

The world is living through very troubling times indeed with coronavirus taking the world by storm, its’ force so unyielding that the whole world has changed the way we go about daily life. The rippling effect of the virus, even on those who are least impacted, has changed how we work, socialise, exercise, travel, holiday, recreate; the list goes on and on. Not surprisingly, maintaining motivation for work, exercise, study or the general daily toil can be challenging during these times and with no clear end in sight, enthusiasm can start to wane.

Whatever is the root of your waning enthusiasm, these tips can help you keep on track.
Re-adjust your 2020 goals

So perhaps you haven’t quite nailed those goals you set as the clock struck midnight and we blindly enter the whirlwind that is 2020 – and that is completely understandable. Whether they are personal goals or work-based goals, make your goals realistic and achievable in context of the current situation the world is facing. Setting some short-term goals as well as longer term goals, will enable you to tick off those smaller achievements, giving you a greater sense of fulfilment.

Share your goals

Sharing your goals with your friends, colleagues or those you trust means you are more likely to be held accountable. If you are comfortable with complete transparency writing your goals down and pinning them up on the fridge or your work desk may increase your motivation further.

Cut yourself some slack

Self-compassion during these testing times has become more important than ever. By treating yourself with care, respect and a gentle attitude, you might find yourself thinking more positively about achieving the goals you have set.

Reward yourself

There is nothing more motivating than a reward; we have been conditioned to this from a very young age. Celebrate the milestones and treat yourself to whatever it is that you love and enjoy. Your personal rewards will help push you along on those tough days.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Birds of a feather flock together. If you surround yourself with motivated, positive people, the infectious behaviour will spread.

Believe in yourself

As Theodore Roosevelt once said; “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

If you focus on what’s really important to you and the stepping stones that will make those things happen, your levels of motivation will naturally lift. Sometime, however low levels of motivation are a sign of more serious wellness concerns. If you are experiencing constant low mood and your levels of motivation are impacting your daily function, it is important to speak to your doctor about how you are feeling. Your GP may refer you to a Psychologist who can help you work through your feelings with practical advice and a personalised plan to improve your overall health and wellbeing.  To view our team of Clinical Psychologists and their areas of specialisation, visit the Brisbane Psychologists page.

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