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Thursday, 1 October 2020

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Five top tips for helping teens through lockdown

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A charity which helps support teenagers and young people through non-contact boxing courses have offered five top tips to help teenagers cope with lockdown and post-lockdown anxiety.

For teens, the COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly stressful as, at an age where they would normally be spreading their wings and spending more time with friends, they have been confined to four walls, without even having school as an escape. Though some restrictions have been eased, it is far from the norm for an average British teenager.

Empire Fighting Chance was founded by Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar and is based in Bristol. It runs non-contact boxing courses, mentoring and therapy underpinned by Sports Psychology for personal development for more than 4,000 young people in the South West and South Wales a year. Some of the young people it works with have severe mental health issues and work with Empire to take part in therapeutic boxing programmes with a counsellor.

The Empire Fighting Chance team has come up with five tips to help teens and parents alike as they deal with the lockdown and post-lockdown life, as Martin explains:

“We help mentor and counsel thousands of young people a year and it’s tough at any time for many of them, but during the lockdown, emotions have been heightened.

“Here, EFC team member Sam Kotodia has come up with a few tips and thoughts that can be shared with teens, and that parents can learn from too. Emotion is emotion at any age, but our teenagers haven’t yet learned how to control them and so he has come up with a few methods to help them navigate this tricky and scary time.”

EFC’s five top tips to help young people cope with lockdown are:

Knock-out decision-making

Emotions run high in uncertain times, especially during lockdown or times of anxiety. Resist allowing your mood to drive your actions and make the wrong decision. If we can learn not to trust our thinking when we are in an unstable mood, we are more likely to make healthy decisions when the dust settles.

One round at a time

Achieving small daily goals regularly helps us to make the most out of lockdown. When we complete goals, we feel a sense of achievement and progress. The size of the goal doesn’t matter. It is helpful to make a list of the small goals you want to accomplish during the day and tick them off as you work through your list to get that sense of achievement.

Know your flow

Battling negative emotions during lockdown can make you feel even more unstable. No matter what the circumstances, lockdown or not, thoughts, feelings and emotions are always unpredictable, so don’t beat yourself up by trying to outrun them. Remember that thoughts move on by themselves when they are left alone.

Go toe-to-toe with fear

If we get angry and feel negative about the sacrifices we are having to make, there is often a desire to look for a quick fix. This can lead to frustration and poor choices. When you feel scared or unsettled, try to experience the feelings instead of moving away from them with quick fixes. If you face up to your fears, they lose their power to influence you and provide you with the platform to call the right shots.

Check-in at HQ

Lockdown has forced most of us to look at life differently so use the time to consider what is important to you. When the pace of life picks up again, think about what you learned and how you can incorporate this into your future. Many professional sportspeople do this – successful athletes can identify the behaviours that support them and those that do not and act accordingly. The big change lockdown has brought to your life can be used to keep your values at the forefront and help you to seek healthy and fulfilling activities.

For more information about Empire Fighting Chance, visit the website www.empirefightingchance.org

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