Abstract: To review the state of stress utilizing our self-esteem indicators and the experiences of youth during an acute phase of the pandemic. To better understand their responses and coping strategies to stress and the various stimuli impacting them at this time. To learn more about real issues of their stress and understand the role of reflections and mindfulness practices in reducing stress for youth during an acute phase of the pandemic.
Methods: Data was obtained through reflective research and diluted use of self-esteem indicators in the reflections. The format of qualitative and quantitative data was utilized. Data was obtained through interview and through filling out the reflection research. Youth group used were aged 19-32 years of age.
Findings: The group revealed that 72% of them had increased stress during the pandemic in general. This involved stimuli such as personal image, online identity and reputation. Other findings revealed that social dynamics were stressful with dating as key stress for youth.
The group reduced stress with daily exercise and mindfulness practices like yoga or journaling daily an average of 68% of them did on a regular basis and found it helpful during that time.
A total of 28% revealed that they took themselves off all forms of social media during regular periods of the day to reduce stress and the extra input of information.
The group consensus was that social dynamics were very stressful with a total of 78% revealing they missed friends and found social dynamics were far too isolating. This data revealed that dating was challenging and very difficult during this time of the pandemic.
Communication was challenging about topics important to them as individuals and other pandemic topics were always taking priority. Of this group 82% of them revealed that they found it hard to really communicate the things they needed to like stress, or dating.
The information overload of the pandemic made them feel mistrust in general with information about the pandemic and measures. A consensus of 92% of them felt that mistrust gave them more stress in general.
A total of 72% of them felt that their online reputation was always a concern because dynamics in their own social groups were always changing and there was always a great deal of information and opinions that would sway in groups and affect the socialization experience for them. Online reputation seemed to have pivots and hurdles with their peer groups and their own positioning in these groups.
A total of 82% felt that because of changes in routine and social dynamics they felt different about themselves and felt stress was the biggest factor in their daily lives.
Interpretation: The Pandemic has placed additional stress in the lives of some youth. The alterations in their daily routines and changes in social patterns seemed to be a consistent stress for them. The extra information or infodemic had its challenges in interpretation and presentation to many youths. The extra time spent alone creating feelings of isolation that seemed to rebound into more time in online connections. This extra time online seemed to bring additional stresses and challenges to youth as with social dynamics and online reputation. Many youths felt that peer pressure and opinions based on pandemic information or parts of the infodemic further swayed social dynamics. The mistrust of too much information to interpret and understand brought additional stress to many youths during this acute time in the pandemic presentation.
The entire socialization process from isolation to feeling socially limited presented in stress with social dynamics and continual challenges in dating and social dynamics within their own social circles. Youth who had little social dynamics felt isolated and found it to be a very stressful time seeing family and others also stressed.
The stress response related to changes and experiences for youth during the pandemic proved to be most challenging and youth that were able to practice mindfulness practices and reflections and journaling kept a momentum to the stress.
Conclusion: The Pandemic presented many additional stresses into the lives of young people. Changes in daily routine and socialization seemed to bring the greatest amount of continual stress experiences for them. Information and communication in general became key factors in the experiences they faced. The stress was recognized by them and many of them utilized mindfulness practices and daily outlets of exercise and journaling to help this stay more level. The challenges of the pandemic have proven that stress is a factor and can be managed with supportive strategies such as mindfulness and reflections daily exercise and journaling practices. The experiences of the pandemic proved that resilience and wellness are key factors in the health and wellness of youth. Building positive routines and mindfulness practices made a consistent difference in the lives of most youth involved in this learning reflection.