During these chaotic times it may seem extremely difficult and maybe even impossible to understand and act upon the word rest. In a world full of social unrest, constant news updates, and being quarantined, resting can truly be the last thing on someone’s mind. But it is imperative to evaluate your feelings during this time and work through them which can be done in various ways, I will just profile a few of them.
The first is practicing mindfulness and finding solace. This can be done in several ways including praying, meditating, listening to music or something that brings you peace. Find your one practice that brings you peace and start setting a time daily to execute that activity. It could be five minutes, ten minutes or even an hour but work this into your daily schedule. During this time express your emotions about what is going on around you, allow yourself to feel your emotions instead of denying or suppressing them.
We should focus on the things that bring us joy and happiness. Think about this time differently, don’t think of it as being trapped instead think of it as a time of reflection. Practice positivity and gratitude. It can be extremely easy to find the negative aspects of all of this. Instead give to others who are less fortunate than you, create a gratitude list, and talk and interact with the ones you love. Take a break from things that can be emotionally draining and taxing like the news or social media. It’s completely okay to feel overwhelmed by everything that is going on, your feelings are valid.
Next, get active! Walk, run, bike, engage in a physical activity that you enjoy. There are so many benefits to increasing your physical activity during this time which release stress, reduce anxiety and improve your mood. Eat more fruits and vegetables to increase the amount of natural vitamins and minerals that you ingest. Go outside to get some sunshine and enjoy the fresh air. It can be very easy to fall into depression during times like these because we are so uncertain of everything going on around us. But instead of focusing on the things that we can not change, we should focus on the things that we can.
These are just some of the ways to relax and destress from the current state of the world. Taking it day by day and living in the present will help you to cope and understand your feelings. These are not changes that will occur overnight which is the beauty and power of change. Including these small adjustments and changes in your day by taking five or ten minutes to meditate or exercise will create a huge change in the long run. Be patient with yourself, embrace change, and think positively.
Teen pregnancy rates in the US are decreasing and that is good news. According to the CDC, there has been a steady decrease since 2017. But, even with the decrease, there is still work to do. In American culture, teen pregnancy has been glorified. And all consequences have been substituted for attention and notoriety. But teen pregnancy can have negative effects on a teenager, which include mental and emotional consequences as well as difficulty in completing one's educational goals. Teen pregnancy disproportionately affects teens of color and teens from low income areas. Socioeconomic disparities have one of the largest effects of teen pregnancy which places teens in a cycle of unhealthy behavior. Teens who are included in this group are twice as likely to become pregnant. How do we as a community combat this issue?
One of the ways we can combat this issue is by informing teens about the consequences that come along with teen pregnancy. There is a huge gap of proper sex education in low income communities and schools. With that in mind, parents and youth serving organizations must directly approach and address the issue of teen pregnancy. Honesty plays apart as well. Being open and honest with a teen can foster healthy dialogue. More often a teen will be more open to discuss how they feel with someone they feel they can trust.
While we live and work during this pandemic, we have to be mindful that teenagers may still be tempted to engage in risky behavior. By providing teens with alternate options during this time will decrease the chances of teens engaging in risky behavior. There is an old creed that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. As we navigate through this difficult time, we must be mindful of the teenagers in our own homes and communities. Let’s work together to ensure healthy futures for our teens. For more information on PATH, visit our website at www.positiveteenhealth.org, or visit us on Facebook at A Positive Approach to Teen Health.
Technology is everywhere and anywhere. Everybody has a cell phone, tablet, and/or laptop. It often feels like there is no escape. People are ditching their home phones and handing kids cell phones for safety and convenience. However, although cellular phones do add a measure of safety to your life--without proper supervision--they can lead to dangerous consequences. Gone are the days of parents listening in on phone calls to monitor friends and behavior. Texting is private, quiet, and potentially harmful when left unchecked by a parent or guardian.
Sexting is a danger that can effect anyone with a cellphone, tablet, or laptop and the statistics are staggering. Here is some information you need to know:
Teenagers pushing the boundaries of sex is not a new thing. Over the years teenagers have always pushed the sexual boundaries of the generation. However, sexting can push the boundaries of the law. The law becomes involved when minors are sending racy images or texts to those who are legal age. When the pictures are shared, according to the law they are disseminating child pornography.
Child pornography is a serious crime and is dealt seriously according to the laws of your state. Sexting with a minor in Indiana is a crime, whether or not images were sent back and forth. However, if images are sent back and forth there is stiff penalty by the state who charges these crimes harshly.
You have to communicate with your child, monitor their phone usage, and talk openly about the dangers of sexting-- solicited or unsolicited. You should have a plan in place to encourage them to communicate with you about if this does happen and how you will handle the situation. It will make your child feel they have a safe place to communicate without judgement and fear. Don't assume your child is using discretion. Do not give trust too prematurely. Investigate software and phone apps to help monitor the activity on their devices. It could save your child's life!
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.