Some things back in the day just weren’t really spoken about.
Often they just weren’t even really known about or understood. Case in point – mental health.
Ask anyone aged over 30 and there’s a good chance this is something they rarely thought or spoke about when they were teenagers. That’s why there’s been a silver lining to the pandemic, and that has been the world finally putting mental health first.
And you might be surprised to learn there’s a lot we can learn from Gen Zs whose knowledge towards mental wellbeing is a far cry from what their parents knew about mental health and how to deal with it when they were the same age.
Here is some of the mental health wisdom we heard from young people during our Gen Z Wellbeing Check research.
First things first: Be proactive about your mental health
“With lockdown, I was forced to face myself,” a 17-year-old female from Victoria said.
“For multiple years I put up a front, I suppressed my feelings and emotions and never gave myself the time to really find out who I am or allow myself to honour my feelings. In discovering myself and proactively putting in the work to heal myself, I’ve been able to truthfully express myself and acknowledge the shit I went through and be authentic with how I’m feeling.
“This led me to going to therapy for the first time, being honest when people ask me how I am and just stopping being so hard on myself.”
Learn to be honest with yourself
“For tips to other young people I have this: look inwards. And when you do, be real with yourself,” a 19-year-old female from NSW said.
“I think that sometimes us young people downsize things or let things pass instead of saying what we mean and how we feel. But I think that happens because we are lying to ourselves, and that simply needs to stop. Because when we stop lying to ourselves, it becomes much easier to be true to who we are and live life to the fullest.
“Also – dress up! It’s is always fun, and sometimes you just need to let loose!”
Be mindful of the way you think about yourself
“I think another way of improving one’s mental health is to try and look at one’s self objectively from an external point of view,” a 21-year-old male from Victoria said.
“I do this to help myself understand where I could improve in any area of my life, my actions or my appearance, and to continue to try and be the best version of myself.”
Make time for your hobbies
“If you had hobbies during high school that you really cherished and improved your mental health, do everything in your power to continue doing them,” an 18-year-old male from Queensland said.
“Time spent doing something that makes you happy is never time wasted, and having a clear cut purpose to your free time really does make the difference.”
Choose a career that you love
“What is positively impacting me at the moment is choosing to study a career I love, that is nursing,” a 19-year-old male from Western Australia said.
“I always wake up happy to go to classes and lectures!”
And practice gratitude
“Every morning I try to write 3 things I am grateful for – I find that it forces me to think about the small things that mean the world to me and helps to appreciate them,” a 15-year-old female from Victoria said.
“This habit definitely helps lighten my spirits and I am 100% sure it will help lighten yours too. Please remember that you are amazing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”
Allow yourself guilt-free lazy days
“(When) I have a low mood and feel fatigued, I find podcasts relaxing and it makes me still feel educated even though I don’t have the capacity to focus on a physical book,” a 17-year-old female from Queensland said.
“(Also), I pat my dog lot.”
Channel your inner god/goddess
“My tip is to pretend you’re a hippie god/goddess and you are feeding your body to sustain and help you grow,” an 18-year-old female from Victoria said.
“Eating whole, gluten-free (because gluten inflames the gut) and organic food makes you feel lighter, mentally clearer and happier – and isn’t that what we all want? But saying that, ice cream or chocolate always helps sometimes ;).”
And when all else fails? Channel your inner Dragonball Z
“Get up off the couch, eat something nutritious and go to the gym and repeat until you’re a Dragonball Z character,” a 19-year-old male from Western Australia said.