At #Focus5 we spend a lot of time with young people identifying their individual barriers. So many of our young people experience overwhelming anxiety in their day-to-day life. After the events of the last few years this is no surprise, but It’s so sad to see how it can impact young people and stop them from doing the things they would like to do.
One way we can help reduce anxiety is by making an Anxiety Plan. Anxiety plans are a good way of looking deeply at how anxiety affects you, how you experience it in your body and the behaviours that come out when you’re feeling anxious. Once you understand this you can look at triggers and situations where you experience more anxiety than others.
When you’ve identified how it feels to you, what it looks like to others on the outside and when the anxiety tends to happen, you can begin to understand why you may be feeling anxious. If you can identify a feeling as anxiety, you can adopt a strategy to counter it, stopping it from escalating. This breaks the cycle and prevents it from becoming overwhelming.
At the peak of anxiety, it’s difficult to think clearly and plan how to keep yourself safe. Having it written in a plan makes it easy to look at and pick a strategy. This stops you needing to use your brain until you’re calm and able to process information again.
#Focus5 keyworkers can create an anxiety plan with a young person over several sessions. Young people can then share it with the important people in their life, so everyone can help support them to overcome anxiety.
L worked with #Focus5 after being home educated for the last few years of statutory education. She was incredibly anxious about starting college and found the process scary and overwhelming.
With her keyworker, L identified strategies that would be beneficial in times of anxiety and started to create her anxiety plan. Having the plan written out for her, gave her the confidence that she could manage at college, even when things were difficult.
#Focus5 was able to help with purchasing items from the anxiety plan that L had recognised would help manage her anxiety, and supported L to speak to college so they knew how to help her when she was feeling anxious.
L was able to share the plan with the staff once it was finished, who agreed to implement the strategies she had identified. At the end of the process L felt listened to, validated and that she had a plan she could use in times of high anxiety. This, alongside a supportive educational environment, would enable her to stay in college and not let the anxiety win.
Working with her keyworker to create an anxiety plan was really helpful for L, she gained confidence and experienced less anxiety in the college environment as a result. This meant she was able to finish her course and was actually excited to apply for the second year. Coming from someone who thought she would drop out after the first week, this is huge!