My name is Marjorie Colindres and I am a bilingual licensed clinical social worker for Olimene Counseling, Inc. I have been working in the field of social work since 2012. My areas of expertise have been to work with children, adolescent
During this time, I have been engaging in active listening to support children, teens, and families. Through this experience, I have met people who have been quite resilient because they used their protective factors to meet and exceed their expectations. A teen who I will call “Nathan” shared his wisdom in an interview. The purpose of this interview is to empower youth to proactively use their protective factors to maintain socially, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
When you found out that you were going to be doing E-learning, how did you feel?
Personally, I felt worried and overwhelmed. I didn’t want to have to worry about school subjects during a pandemic, but the workload isn’t too bad and it’s something I can do with all this new-found free time.
What are some coping strategies that you are currently using?
Meditation helps a lot. I meditate in the morning before I start my day and I think about how I can be productive, active, and positive. It sets the mood for the rest of the day. I also find that reading is a productive and positive way to pass the time.
How have these coping strategies positively impacted you emotionally?
Meditation has tremendously helped me be more positive during these dark times. During our normal lives, we really don’t find much time to get connected with ourselves, but meditation gives us an outlet to do just that. Meditation gives me a way to figure out the things I need to do to better my life emotionally and physically. It’s a lot easier to do those things once you’ve identified them and thought about them.
What do you like to read that inspires you on a daily basis?
Currently, I’m reading a book titled The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. The book is all about the Stoic philosophy and follows teachings of the Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius. It gives a quote by him or another famous stoic to start off your day and gives an insightful look into helpful topics such as Peace of Mind, Habits, Clarity, etc. I definitely recommend it for anyone needing some guidance during these
What advice would you give to teens who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems during this time?
You’re not alone. There are many teens out there who are struggling in the same way, and who feel as lost, confused, or scared as you do. Know that there’s always a way out of your situation and there’s always happiness around the corner. Have a positive mindset, and you will attract positive things in your life. I think now more than ever we need to support each other. Finding a good philosophy for life is one way you can find some sort of peace and maybe even happiness through these dark times. Stoicism is one philosophy that I’ve grown fond of, but I encourage you to research and find one that you like and enjoy.
How have you structured your time during COVID-19?
I’ve used this time to fix bad habits and start good ones. Fixing my sleep was on the top list of my priorities, and then it snowballed into the right direction. It started with meditation in the mornings, then cleaning my room throughout the day while starting some new hobbies and learning new things. I always make time to learn and be active, but I also put some leisure time aside so I can relax.
How are you making sure that you stay connected with your friends and family while maintaining social distancing?
Me and my friends sometimes get on group facetimes and play video games together. Other times, I facetime individual friends just to reconnect. If you’re thinking about texting that one friend you haven’t texted in a while, do it. They’re probably bored and would be excited to reconnect as well. Also with all this extra time, it’s always nice to hangout with family. Home Cooked meals and watching TV or movies is an amazing way to bond and connect with family.
What do you think about excessive social media use? Is it healthy and unhealthy?
Social media is a great way to connect with friends and family, but too much of it becomes a problem. Not only does it mess with your sleep, but it also messes with your happiness as well. Too much of social media fills you up with a bunch of natural chemicals that supply you with happiness called dopamine. When you’re filled up with this chemical, you become less sensitive to it, making meaningful activities that would give you the normal amount of dopamine less meaningful and making you less likely to do them. Limiting your time on social media is an extremely helpful thing to do if you want to become more productive.
I hope you find the information provided by Nathan to be insightful as he is a teen himself who is learning to navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main idea is to ensure that teens develop a positive mindset, create structured environments, and stay connected with peers while creating healthy boundaries around social media use.