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The end of exams and the start of the summer holidays can be a difficult time for many young people who are experiencing change – whether moving school, starting university, or looking to start a new job. Here's some guidance on how to cope with change and handle feelings of uncertainty.
In September, you might be starting a new school year, going off to college, or leaving home for university. You might be starting full-time work, trying out new skills and activities, or making plans to go travelling or take some time out. All of these things will be a change from what you are used to.
Change is unavoidable, and is something that happens throughout our lives. Some people can happily breeze through change and see it as exciting – however others may find transition difficult to manage, and may feel nervous and anxious about the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
At PAPYRUS HOPElineUK we hear from many young people who are finding it really difficult to cope with change:
"I'm worried about how I'm going to cope over summer without the distraction and routine of Uni"
"Leaving college means I'll no longer see my guidance counsellor who is a massive support to me"
"I'm always fighting with my family... summer feels like a long time to spend at home".
Change can leave you feeling scared, helpless and suicidal. Any new situation involves the loss of the old and the beginning of the new. Experiencing a loss can be traumatic and can lead to feelings of being unable to cope. For some young people, the fear can be overwhelming and can cause thoughts of suicide. Strange as it may sound, many young people who think of suicide don't actually want to die, but are looking for an answer to their problems and an end to their pain and despair – and suicide can start to seem to be the only way out.
So, how can you be better prepared for the new journey you are about to embark on? There are a number of things that can help you to cope with any changes you will encounter in the future.
It’s important to recognise what causes you the most distress. Give it a name and think about how are you are feeling. Are you feeling differently about seeing people, or wanting to spend more time alone? Have you noticed any physical changes? Are you sleeping? Have you noticed any changes to your appetite?
Talk about it
Speak to someone you trust: a family member, a friend or colleague. Tell them how you are feeling and try and be as open and honest about your fears. Know that you are not alone in feeling like this and that many of the feelings you are experiencing are common. It is normal and natural to grieve for your past and be apprehensive about your future. Above all know that it is ok to talk about it.
Make sure you plan for the change ahead. Attend open days at university; if you can, meet your new employer and colleagues before you officially start. Have the necessary equipment, books, uniform, bus pass, and travel arrangements ready. Anything that will relieve the pressure when it comes to change will help.
Care about yourself
Above all, look after yourself. Eat well, exercise, catch up with friends and spend time with your family. Taking time out to relax and getting enough sleep is vital for your emotional wellbeing.
If you are a young person struggling with thoughts of suicide, or if you are concerned about someone who is, contact PAPYRUS HOPELineUK. Call: 0800 068 41 41 Text: 07786 209 697 Email: email@example.com our opening hours are 10am-10pm weekdays, 2pm-10pm weekends, and 2pm-5pm Bank Holidays.
For future support you can also contact:
Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity: http://www.studentminds.org.uk/
The Mix, who offer information and emotional support to young people under the age of 25: http://www.themix.org.uk/