Assoc Prof Joanne Dickson is an expert in mental health, wellbeing and motivation, here she gives you her tips for getting through a doubly stressful Year 12.
Anxiety levels often soar in Year 12, but COVID-19 adds another layer of stress. However, according to ECU Associate Professor Joanne Dickson ‘threats’ also create opportunities, such as developing new skills and the prospect of personal growth.
Dickson said while students should be mindful about the impacts of COVID-19, it’s important to keep their long-term goals in sight.
“Fixating too heavily on the ‘imminent threat’ will pre-occupy thoughts, increase anxiety and potentially derail students’ goal aspirations.
“However, there are practical steps students and families can put in place to help Year 12 students to focus on their long-term goals while maintaining a sense of well-being. But this may require re-setting goal plans in this new norm to serve those long-term aspirations,” Professor Dickson said.
Tips for year 12s
Limit your news exposure
Dickson said anxiety is exacerbated by being overly vigilant in monitoring potential threats.
“In the case of COVID-19 this may mean constantly watching social media updates 24/7.
It is good to keep up-to-date and informed – but limit the amount of time each day that you spend doing these activities,” she said.
Create a new normal
Building a routine, essentially a ‘new normal’ is key to maintaining well-being and achievement, Dickson said.
“Creating new family norms such as relaxing time, study time and ‘together time’ to accommodate changed living circumstances of working and studying at home together.
“Students and families need to be adaptable and flexible when a new routine isn’t quite working out,” she said.
Make the most of the resources available to you
“Students should not be afraid to seek academic help and advice from teachers and to use online resources available to support their studies.”
Don’t play the blame game
It’s important not to blame anyone for this crisis, Dickson advised.
“We are all in this together and all of us should work toward coming through together.”
Keep calm and distract yourself
When anxiety is running high, try strategies such as switching your focus, distracting yourself or calming yourself. For example, engage in an enjoyable activity, connect with friends via social media, or meditation using apps such as Calm.
Think about the personal positives you can gain through this adversity and keep your long-term dreams alive.