When you hear March Madness what comes to mind?
Usually basketball- right!? In the world of teenage mental health, we often think of the surge of clients going into crisis, seeking help, or just feeling a bit crummier than usual.
>>>This is totally normal<<<
As the sun is staying brighter longer, the air is warming, and the flowers begin blooming - it can start to feel like the world is a wonderful place to live and breathe.
But what if you don't feel good?
Spring time can be a reminder that you don't feel as good as everyone else seems to be feeling. The sun may be out more- but you sure don't feel sunny on the inside.
This month can be the start of a very stressful time for many teenagers as well.
March is typically the month where all sorts of decisions start being made:
- Schools start having conversations about how to prepare for students' transition to the next grade, or their risk of being held back.
- Colleges are starting to send out their decision letters, if they haven't already.
- High schoolers start shopping and preparing for prom.
- College-bound students start taking and prepping for SATs and ACTs.
The list goes on and on and on and on...
Even though we're not talking basketball- these teens are juggling a lot of balls- it's no wonder they're so stressed out!
Here are 3 lessons from March Madness teens can use during this time:
1. TAKE IT ONE GAME AT A TIME.
In March Madness, teams have to focus on winning their current game in order to advance to the next round. The same is true in life. You need to focus on the present in order to get to the future. Remind teens to focus on the right now so they can get to the future they want.
2. BREAK IT DOWN IN BATCHES.
During March Madness, the teams are placed in brackets where they play a similarly matched team. If the teens you know are feeling overwhelmed by all the decision-making and pressure March brings- have them break down the work into small batches. For example, if they have two writing assignments due for two different classes around the same time- suggest working on both assignments on the same day. They're already in the zone so it should be easy.
3. TAKE A BREAK.
During March Madness, teams typically get a break between games. They use this to rest and prepare for the next game. Teens can use this as well when feeling stressed by the madness March brings. Now it's important to remember I said take a break- not avoid things forever! Teens tend to be really good at the starting the break part, but not so good at ending the break and resuming the work. It might be good to discuss an appropriate time limit for breaks together before leaving this wholly up to teens.
4. HAVING A TEAM HELPS.
Individual players don't advance through the March Madness series- they get there by working together with their teammates. Going through the tough times doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Teens tend to respond well in groups because they're already primed to listen to their peers over the adults in their lives. It's one of the reasons I created Teen Girls Therapy Group and my School Anxiety Workshops (save the date- it's coming back April 20th!).
If you're interested in learning more about either of these, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want even more positive influences in your teen's life? Teen Girls Therapy Group is a weekly space where your teen girl can connect with others dealing with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. By talking and learning together, they learn to feel better about the relationships they have with themselves and others.
Apply for a spot now by calling 203-228-8971 or completing the contact form here.