It’s so hard to believe that it is already July and by the time this blog posts, it will be almost August. Time has been an interesting element during the pandemic in that most of the people I know personally and professionally have noticed that time is passing in such a strange way lately. All at once, it feels like the longest year of our lives and then it also feels like everything is on pause and how on earth could it be almost back to school time???? Anyways, time is strange lately and I’d be remiss not to mention that in a blog post about how teens and young adults are doing these days.
When the pandemic began, I remember thinking that one positive byproduct of everyone having to be home for the time being was that the pace of life for our kids would slow down a bit. While I think that has certainly been challenging in some ways, a lot of teens have been feeling less stressed due to having less demands on their time and more down time overall. Some even have enjoyed being out of the peer relationships that can be so challenging at times in schools.
As someone who has commented a lot about how the current climate of our world puts so much pressure on teens and young adults, I was glad to see some of them leaning into relaxation and doing things they enjoy more. I noticed that they seemed less anxious and often less depressed which has also been a welcome change.
Interestingly though, it seems that a lot of parents are struggling to allow their kids to just relax and try to get through the pandemic by coping through the fun things that are still permitted like video games, TV, reading, hanging out with friends from a distance, etc. Some kids and teens also still feel the need to be productive and do as much as possible. While options are limited, it’s interesting to observe how uncomfortable it has been for a lot of people to have down time and to not work towards a linear, future oriented, academic or professional goal.
This pattern has led me to become very curious about our society and why we are just so darn focused on productivity and linear achievements. Particularly as someone who is much more invested in who my clients are and how they feel about their lives and themselves, what we do, while important, seems just less important particularly when it comes to coping during a situation like a pandemic.
I believe that while most of the world is on pause in a sense, many of us are struggling with the idea of putting our productivity on pause. That somehow by just taking it easy, we might lose some of our momentum and ability to accomplish great things.
Perhaps we can reframe this situation as an opportunity, rather than a loss of productivity.
Perhaps we can reframe it as an opportunity to learn about ourselves and what we like to do when we don’t have external pressures of the world and its’ machine-like focus on accomplishing things.
Perhaps as adults, we can model for kids and teens how to just “be” rather than to always “do.”
To do this, we might need to learn how to be more still and allow ourselves to just follow our passions. We might need to put our to-do lists aside and just let our days develop, rather than be so scheduled. For anyone who is able to do this (as I am well aware some people are still working!), I'd encourage you to give it a try and to lean into the uncertainty around a lack of a plan or lack of a checklist of accomplishments. I would be curious what is waiting for you on the other side! Maybe you can learn more about yourself and your passions. I find that often there is a level of growth that comes from a paradigm shift that you just can’t find without the destabilization that comes from the shift. While uncomfortable and challenging, this is a worthwhile endeavor just like all of our to do list items. I would encourage parents to also allow their kids to just be for a while. After all, many of them may not have an opportunity to do that for quite some time!
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy via video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
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