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Grade 12 is Stressing Me Out!

Grade 12 is Stressing Me Out!

Grade 12 is Stressing Me Out!

DearLucretia.com Grade 12 Stress

Dear Lucretia,

I’ve been struggling a lot with stress lately – mostly with school and what to do when I finish (I’m currently in grade 12). It has felt overwhelming. How do I cope with this? 

I’ve also been struggling with trying to stay calm while socialising. I get all nervous and start to shake and feel unwell. Is there any way I can stop this from happening? 

Anna, 17 years old

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Dear Anna,

Grade 12 can be tough and this year, Covid-19 has made it even more difficult. You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed.

I’m wondering, how do you let off steam? What do you do for fun? One of the best ways to manage stress is to do the things we enjoy. And yes, you might say, “Oh Lucretia, I don’t have time to do that”. But, even 30 minutes doing something that feels relaxing and gets you out of your head will help you cope.

Start noticing when you are over-thinking and obsessing about something (e.g. assignments, the future, exams), then distract yourself – go for a run around the house or your backyard, or do a hobby that you love. When you do this, it will interrupt your mind and get it focused on something else. This will help you relax and gain perspective too.

Also, if you’re not in isolation, try to get outside and connect with nature every day. Standing on the earth and focusing on your breath for five minutes will help you feel calmer

If being around people stresses you out, then don’t do that for a while. Spend time doing the self-care that you need to do for you.

 

I know you’re worrying about school finishing. You mind is saying you need to have all the answers about what comes next. Maybe some people in your life are telling you the same thing.

But your mind and those people are wrong. No one ever has it all worked out and we can’t control what happens in the future. All we can do is make the best decisions we can, with the knowledge we have at the time. It’s that simple.

Take the pressure off, show up and do your best, and let the future work itself out. You’ve got this.

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken!

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken!

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken!

DearLucretia.com Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken

Dear Lucretia,

I often feel like people don’t want to be around me and I try to change myself so I can fit in. But it never feels good. What can I do?

Sammie, 16 years old

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Dear Sammie,

Changing who you are, so you can fit in, is never the answer. You are a unique and beautiful person who just needs to find the right people to hang around with. I also suspect you need to do some work on accepting yourself as well.

As a teenager, you are just starting to work out who you are and this can feel really uncomfortable. Lots of other kids will be feeling exactly the same way (even if they don’t show it).

So what can you do? 

First of all, I want you to look in the mirror every morning and notice one thing you like about yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just pick a different thing every day.

Secondly, work on accepting that you don’t have to be perfect because no one is. When that voice in your head says you’re not good enough and people don’t like you, recognise this is a just a story that isn’t true.

Thirdly, focus on doing the activities you enjoy and try connecting with others who have similar interests.

Lastly, look around and notice if there are other people who seem to be a bit isolated. Find ways to help others and don’t be afraid to say hi. They might be feeling exactly the same as you.

Good luck.

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

Lucretia’s guidance should be regarded as personal opinion only and does not constitute qualified, professional advice regarding psychological situations. If you require this type of advice, please seek the services of a professional in that field and/or access the services listed on our Resources page.

How Can I Feel Happier?

How Can I Feel Happier?

How Can I Feel Happier?

Grade 12 is stressing me out

Dear Lucretia,

How can I feel more excited about my life? My world feels kind of empty. It’s my 18th birthday tomorrow and all I want to do is feel happier about it.

Maddie, 18 years old

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Dear Maddie,

I can remember blowing out the candles on my birthday cake and making a wish to be happy. I did this every year for quite a while until I realised something important.

I have the ability to choose my life and do what makes me happy.

 Until then, I had spent a long time trying to do the right thing and never feeling good enough. This didn’t work as a long-term happiness strategy. It never does.

Turning 18 is just the start of your adult life and it’s up to you to make it a life that counts.

Look for ways you can make a difference, help others and make the world a better place. Focus on your passions and if you don’t know what they are yet, go out and try lots of new things so you can work it out.

You have an important role to play in life and it’s up to you to work out what that is. Think of it as an adventure. You don’t know where the final destination but get ready to explore a lot of things along the way.

Stop waiting for someone to make you happy or give you all the answers. You need to do the journey to find out what your happiness looks like.

Happy birthday Maddie! Now your real adventure begins.

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

Is she only Pretending to be my Friend?

Is she only Pretending to be my Friend?

Is she only Pretending to be my Friend?

Dear Lucretia,

Lately, my friends have been mostly talking to one another and I feel as though they are talking about me behind my back. When they do speak to me, I feel as if they are just pretending to be my friend. How do I know if they are genuinely wanting to be my friend? Or is it all fake?

Tegan, 16 years old

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Dear Tegan, 
Being a teenager can be hard and friendships shift and change all the time. So how do you work out who is really your friend? My advice is to decide who you want to be friends with and go from there. Do this by asking yourself, what are your categories for a good friend? How do they behave? How do you support each other?

It’s important to remember that friendship is a two-way street. Sometimes we get so caught up in wanting the approval of others that we forget to set our own standards. Then we stay friends with people who don’t treat us well and ignore the people who are always looking out for us. It’s crazy, isn’t it?

The best way to identify real friends is to be a real friend yourself. Be kind, be honest and show up for the people you care about. If they don’t behave in the same way towards you, then you have your answer.

If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, that’s okay because it is not a reflection of how worthy you are. There will be lots of others who will want to be your friend because you share common interests, laugh at the same things or like similar activities.

Real friends are easily identified because we feel good when we are around them, and we feel accepted and cared about. Connecting with just one or two real friends is a wonderful thing and far more important than hanging around with a group of people we don’t value us.

If you feel like some girls are talking behind your back and being mean, walk away and spend your time with other people who value you.

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

How to Cope with Loneliness

How to Cope with Loneliness

How to Cope with Loneliness

dearlucretia.com how to deal with loneliness

Dear Lucretia,

I often feel lonely. What can I do?

Clare, 17 years old

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Dear Clare,
We can all feel lonely sometimes. When these feelings come up, one of the best things you can do is reach out to a friend and say hi. Often, we don’t tell anyone that we feel lonely and we don’t realise there are lots of other people who feel exactly the same way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you trust and tell them how you feel.

It might also be a good idea to expand your social circle. What are you interested in? Look for groups online or in-person where you can meet new people and do activities you enjoy. Don’t worry if it takes a little while for people to warm up and be friendly. Sometimes they will be shy and it will take time to get to know them. Be the brave one who initiates conversations and says hello first – most of the time they will be very grateful. And if they’re not, always remember that isn’t a reflection on you.

Most importantly, know there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect the way you are. You just need to connect with more people who share your interests and reach out for support when you need it.

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

How Can I Fit In?

How Can I Fit In?

How Can I Fit In?

dearlucretia.com how can I fit in?

Dear Lucretia,

I feel like an outcast and I don’t fit in. What can I do to change this?

Kate, 18 years old

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Dear Kate,
What makes you think you’re supposed to fit in? Some of the most interesting and courageous people I’ve met are the ones who have forged their own path and lived in alignment with what they believe is important. Forget about trying to conform and fit in. Choose to be your authentic and wonderful self instead.

What do you value most? What do you want to do with your life? What things do you want to change in the world? As you work this out, look for other people and groups who feel the same way and value the same things you do. They might live in your local area or maybe you will find them online. Trust me, they are out there. It might just take you a little while to find them.

I would prioritise getting to know, like and accept who you are. What other people think, doesn’t matter. If you don’t fit in with them, then they aren’t your ‘people’ and that’s okay. We aren’t all meant to be the same – that’s what makes us shine.

I would also suggest that it’s okay to let people see a bit more of who you are. If you meet someone and you think they might be a potential friend, talk a little more about what you love and what you enjoy doing. You never know, they might be shy and wanting desperately to connect with someone who “gets them” too.

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

How Can I Deal With Anxiety?

How Can I Deal With Anxiety?

How Can I Deal With Anxiety?

DearLucretia.com | How can i deal with my anxiety?

Dear Lucretia,

How can I deal with social anxiety? It’s really bad and now I’m too scared to go into town. If I do, I start to feel sick in my stomach and begin shaking a little.

Megan, 16 years old

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Dear Megan,
Anxiety can keep us stuck in places we don’t want to be and stop us from living the life we really want. It’s great that you’ve recognised this is an issue that you want to get to the bottom of.
I experienced a lot of anxiety in my teens and 20s so I know how it feels to have that sick, panicky feeling inside. In hindsight, I think a combination of the following three things would have helped me a lot. I did some of these at the time but I didn’t learn about others until much later.
1. Self-awareness

Anxiety is often a sign that we need to look at something within ourselves. It can be the result of an event, warn us that we’re going in the wrong direction or highlight that we’re not being our authentic self.

Start by getting to know yourself better and get curious about your anxiety and stress points. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted (take a pen and some paper with you) and write down everything you know about your anxiety. For example, when did it first start happening and was there a reason? What triggers it now? How does it feel? What helps to calm you down? These details will provide a good starting point. Remember, your anxiety can’t hurt you and understanding it more will help you manage it better. This is about empowering yourself with information. If this idea feels a bit overwhelming, maybe sit with a friend or someone you trust while doing this exercise.

I would also recommend journaling every day because it will help get all the messy thoughts out of your head so you can process things more easily. You can also be completely honest when you journal and this will help you understand yourself more.

Be curious about yourself and ask “Why?” you like or don’t like things. Be prepared to go deep and get uncomfortable. Notice if you’re trying to control things in your life a lot – the truth is we can only control what we do in this moment (so make your moments count!).

Try new things often – even if they seem tiny – this will help push the edges of your comfort zone and build your confidence.

2. Strategies

Explore different ways to manage your anxiety. The key is finding the right strategies that work for you. Try things like meditation, yoga, exercise, walking in nature, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, doing the things you are passionate about and practising a lot of self-care. Making these types of practices part of your regular routine will help build your resilience and ability to be present (anxiety usually happens when we are not present – instead we are worrying about the past or the future).

Use grounding and breathing techniques when a panic attack creeps up on you – try standing on the grass in your bare feet (or visualise yourself doing this), shut your eyes and take your attention to the soles of your feet on the earth. Focus on breathing slowly in and out, and every time your mind tries to run away with you, bring your attention back to your feet. If it helps, set the alarm on your phone for three or five minutes so your mind knows there is an end point. 

3. Support

It’s always good to have support when we’re trying to work through problems – someone who will listen without judging and help us get clarity about what is really happening. Sometimes we are too close to our situation and can’t see the full picture.

Find someone who can give you extra support – a counsellor (in-person or online), a local support group, or a trusted friend or adult. It always helps to bounce ideas off someone else and know you’re not alone. 

Many people will experience anxiety in their lifetime and it can have many complex causes. Growing your self-awareness, building strategies that work for you and seeking support will help you move through this. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to reach out for help and please remember, you are not alone. 

Lots of love,

Got a question?

Lucretia gives honest and practical advice to help you choose the best path for you. It’s all about taking the filters off and helping young women value themselves more. Click the button to ask your question today!

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