boredom Archives - A Step at a Time

Why we need to ensure our teens are not ‘too’ busy

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, boredom, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

How busy is too busy?  How quiet is too quiet?  Something that I have noticed in my time as a child and teen therapist, is the far reaching extremes that can occur in children and teen’s diaries and the trends that then occur in mental health. The issues that often arise are either:  teens whose diaries are too quiet and have no focus, leading to isolation, to teens whose diaries are so busy they leave little/no time for downtime and lead to overwhelm Careful monitoring therefore becomes paramount to helping strike a careful balance. As the world operates 24/7, our diaries become filled with back to back events, commitments and social situations. However, for a child this can quickly make their world feel overwhelming and out of control. Their inbuilt desire to meet expectations can often mean that they will push through these emotions and the first indicator we see…

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Flatten the mental health curve at home!

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As we exit lockdown and resume a semblance of normality mental health has become the buzz word of the moment. But, how do we ensure that we are actually planning for mental health and not just playing lip service to the current trending terminology? Mental health describes a child or adolescent who has a positive sense of self and their abilities, a child with good mental health has good coping mechanisms to manage everyday stressors. Mental health can be seen as a continuum, moving between mental health and mental ill-health. We all have mental health, and as such, we will have times in life when it may be better or we may struggle. For those who regularly read my blogs, you will have seen the timelines I released early on in lockdown predicting times and areas when we need to be aware of our family’s stressors and also key events which…

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Why treating mental health is like peeling an onion

Posted by | anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, mental health, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Mental health, and the treatment of it, causes so many families chaos, confusion and frustration. Accessing support can be difficult and in some cases impossible, and when support is accessed the expectations can differ from the outcomes. When working with clients, I frequently talk about mental health being an onion. Onions have layers and layers that you can peel back.  Some mental health issues are isolated, and therefore can be stripped in one go, therefore only requiring 1-2 sessions. Other mental health issues have developed over months, years, have multiple affects and triggers and therefore require us to strip off more layers to return to positive well-being – therefore requiring multiple sessions over a period of weeks or years. In some cases, clients will have attempted a number of therapies for only 1-2 sessions and when not finding an immediate cure give up and move to the next therapy. Others,…

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Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, disordered eating, grief, mental health, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As lockdown eases in some places, and starts round two in others, the world feels like a strange place to navigate. For the many parents that I am speaking to on a daily basis, the concern for child and adolescent mental health grows. The uncertainty of the world, the disruptions to education and the distortions to social lives, for many, has created a wealth of mental health issues, ranging from low level to crisis. But, as a parent, what do you need to be looking for? And at which point should you be stepping in and looking for help?   Signs and symptoms: Seeing signs of mental ill-health as warning flags is a great way to keep things in check. I frequently work with children who, in the face of adversity, coped like a trooper. However, in the months/years after, then began to struggle. Because life had resumed to a…

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Planning for the summer – Helping children to manage expectations and develop patience

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, relationships, self-esteem, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

After months of disappointment, life being tipped upside down and some massive changes to daily routines, as adults we can feel discombobulated, and for children, many feel like their brains are about to explode. Supporting children to make sense of the world and to feel safer is key to building their resilience and helping them to manage natural anxiety. With the summer holidays now upon us, there is a wonderful opportunity to support children to start putting their worlds back into order so that they are well prepared for the return to school. Our brains run on patterns; every opportunity, sensory experience, place we visit, thing we hear is quickly run back to our brains stored knowledge to check if it is ‘safe’ ‘acceptable’ or ‘similar’ to what we have known before. If something matches then we can push forward, if not, it can raise anxiety levels, adrenalin or fear…

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Computers, teenagers and mental health

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, computer games, gaming, mental health, screen time, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Technology has taken the world by storm in the last ten years, and with it, brought new levels of graphics, entertainment and browsing. Long gone are the days of being impressed by a Commodore 64 or a Gameboy, as platform games and interactive social media platforms now absorb hours of our days. Whilst technology has opened new forms of communication, entertainment and interaction, alongside the blessings, for many it has brought a new curse onto their households. A curse that few people can avoid, adults, teens and children alike. Whilst some can take and leave electronics, easily switching off and putting them aside. For others, computers and electronics create unhealthy attachments and create huge emotional responses. The Royal College of Paedatrics and Child Health, surveyed 109 children and young people and found that: 88% of children and young people (11-24 years) acknowledged that screen time had a negative impact on…

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Strategies to support children: Homemade Sensory Boxes

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, grief, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, well-being | No Comments

Helping children to manage their emotions and learn to regulate them can be a daunting task. Children’s rapid brain development means that whilst they develop logic and reasoning from the age of 5, they can often be impulsive, as the frontal cortex of the brain, which controls logic develops much later. In fact, the frontal cortex development continues into adulthood, so recognising that children need our help to develop reasoning and control is the first step to connecting and helping them. The later development of the frontal cortex means that children; are more likely to act on impulse are less likely to think before they act are more likely to take risks or act out risky behaviours have difficulty considering the consequence of their actions may behave in inappropriate ways Therefore, as adults, supporting children to develop the knowledge and understanding of these areas is important in their social and…

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Motivating children, teenagers (and adults) to get things done

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, excuses, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Motivation is the word on everyone’s lips right now, at its fundamental core, as the world becomes a peculiar place and boredom and monotony sets in, removing us from the from the initial novelty factor how do we help our children and teenagers (as well as ourselves) to get motivated, and most importantly, is that even what we need? What is motivation? Motivation is defined as: “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”. Motivation can be intrinsic – coming from us, where we have a personal motivation to achieve something or extrinsic – where we do something because we are told to, or there is a reward for it e.g. money, success It indicates that we have a desire, or purpose which drives us to get things done. But, how does that fare in a pandemic? When we have countless days ahead of us? No…

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Supporting introvert and sensitive children

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, introverts, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

Having a child who is not the first in queue to do new things, meet new people or sit and chat, can feel that there is something wrong. However, for some children, being introverted or sensitive can mean that rather than think that there is something wrong with them, we need to identify how we can adapt our routines and behaviours to help them thrive. Introverts, are by nature, quieter, more reserved and happier to spend alone, whilst extroverts enjoy socialising, being active and larger groups. Whilst this is only the tip of the iceberg, we can often see in children we know, those who are happier in their own, peaceful worlds, and those who quickly become bored in their own company. The concern is often, whether the introverted behaviours are introverted or something to be concerned about. Signs of introverted child Deep thinkers and processors Self-sufficient Insular, reserved and…

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Teens, mental health timelines and cabin fever (How to cope)

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Over the last week, I have spoken to more teens and parents who are experiencing the impact of the emotions rollercoaster created by cabin fever. This can include feelings of: Increased anxiety Decreased mood Heightened frustration Increased feelings of being trapped Increased feelings of anger, annoyance and irritability The realities of cabin fever, are that many of us are feeling exhausted, trapped and annoyed right now, and the quicker we put in place constructive systems to help us manage the feelings and build our resilience that better the outcomes for our mental health. Some early signs that we need to be aware of, that may indicate your teen (or you) is beginning to struggle are: Sleeping more – or using sleep to avoid things Motivation has dropped Avoidance of activities, interactions or learning Increased screen time Use of electronics to avoid, distract or escape Increased or decreased eating habits Less…

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How do we support boredom when we are stuck at home?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, child therapy | No Comments

When we choose to stay at home all weekend, lounging round and catching up on things we rarely get bored. However, when staying home is enforced and we lose the choice to go out, flit between shops and run errands we suddenly begin to feel very differently about things. In many cases boredom quickly sets in, and brings with it new levels of destructiveness. So, what is boredom? In its simplest sense, boredom is mental fatigue that is created by monotony (doing the same things over and over again) which creates a lack of interest in tasks and an empty feeling. What triggers boredom? Doing the same things repeatedly Lack of variety Too much predictability *It should be noted that we all NEED some predictability, boredom is created when there is little to no variety or no option for variety What does boredom look like? Boredom affects everyone differently, but…

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Managing children’s disappointment when they have to stay home

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression | No Comments

With the sudden changes to children’s routines there is, understandably, a great deal of disappointment, frustration and anxiety being caused to a great number of children. Younger children struggle with not having planned and considered goodbyes to manage transitions, older children are missing out on planned trips and events, whilst those with GCSEs and A-Levels are frustrated and confused by the sudden changes to their exams. Those students who had worked tirelessly feel short-changed that they did not get an opportunity to show their work, those who took longer to warm up and were just hitting their stride to work are scared that they will be assessed on the work that is not a true picture of their capabilities. Regardless of which boat they sit in, the changes and tsunami of emotions that they are experiencing, and will experience over coming weeks is understandable. Without life experience, the resilience to…

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5 things to do to keep your mental health more stable whilst staying home

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, books, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem | No Comments

As the world faces a new challenge, and we are in a position of needing to stay home to protect others, ensuring that we take steps to protect the mental health of our family, and ourselves, becomes vital. Having spoken to many people over recent days, here are 5 things that you can action right now to support you and your family. Plan a routine – Whilst we have energy and focus, making a plan for the next 6-8 weeks can help give you structure and focus. For those with home learning to do with children, this will give structure to some of the day, for those working from home, this will cover some of the weekdays, but for all of us we need to consider the time around this. Consider activities you have been procrastinating about at home, jobs you want to complete, home learning you could do as…

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