My Senior Year During COVID | MyHealth Youth Advisory Board Member

My Senior Year During COVID

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Guest Blog Post

Senior Year Reflections

It’s so crazy to think how quickly this year turned out for the class of 2020. I never would have imagined that this would be how my senior year ends. Although the Coronavirus had been headlining news for a few months before schools shut down, it was impossible to believe that there would actually be a shut down. I just kept thinking, “stuff like this doesn’t happen”. And then, once we got the calls that school was off for an indefinite amount of time, I stayed positive and was sure we’d be back in a few weeks.

At first, it was kind of nice, especially since online school didn’t start for me until a few weeks after school shutdown. Although it was a little boring, it was nice to have so much time to myself. I still was positive and had high hopes that the school year would eventually be back on.

Once it became clear the school year, including graduation and prom, were off, I began to cycle through feelings of disappointment, anxiety and dread. Some days aren’t so bad, but it gets hard to not overthink everything when I’m stuck at home all day. All the news articles and stories of how people are being affected by the pandemic has me more worried about my future, jobs, healthcare and money more than ever.

In the beginning of school shutdowns, my biggest worries were about missing prom and graduation. Now, I don’t care about either of those as much. Sure, it would be nice to have them, but now that I know I’m never going back to my high school as a student, I just don’t feel like a high schooler anymore. My school, along with many others, are trying to plan to see if we could move our prom and graduation to dates later in the summer, but honestly, that seems a little far-fetched. Even if the events are able to be held later on, I doubt many of my classmates are even going to go. It would just be too weird, and most of us have already put high school behind us and have started to embrace being a college kid (and hoping that our college freshmen year doesn’t get delayed).

Mostly, I miss seeing my favorite teachers every day. I miss seeing the cafeteria staff and having small conversations while they grabbed by food. I miss seeing the murals students painted on our walls. I know I would have missed all these things regardless of my year being cut short or not, but the fact that I never really got to say goodbye makes everything worse. As a freshman, I always thought about how sad it must be as a senior to be attending your last pep-fest, or even the last test you take as a high schooler. Now, as a senior, I didn’t even get to know my last was my last.

Honestly, I still don’t think I’ve fully processed that my year is done. I know that there are a lot worse things that are happening to people and senior year getting cut short isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly isn’t how I wanted high school to end.

Srihita, Youth Advisory Board member


World Map Filled with dots of people supporting Earth Day 2020

Earth Day 2020

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While we shelter in place for the pandemic, here are some creative ways to show up on April 22nd and spread some Earth Day 2020 love:


Limit orders from Amazon.

While it may be tempting to order everything you need from Amazon, these methods contribute to increased emissions of toxic greenhouse gases. Amazon orders put stress on our transportation system, calling for more trucks and air travel to deliver packages. The added stress promotes more emissions being added into the atmosphere. Instead, try posting on Nextdoor app to see if your neighbors have what you’re looking for, or ordering from a local business. Many have added delivery in to their business models amidst the pandemic.

Neighborhood trash collection.

On April 22nd, walk around your neighborhood and collect trash to help clean up Mother Earth. Perhaps you could even organize a neighborhood clean up to add more hands. Don’t forget to wear gloves, bring hand sanitizer with you, and maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.

Start a compost.

Now is a better time than ever to learn how to start a garden or build a compost. Composting is great for the soil, promotes good bacteria and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which are detrimental to the environment. It also adds critical nutrients to your crops, so that your garden can thrive. Currently, the amount of food waste in our world is around 40%, meaning that we throw away large amounts of food, not to mention the copious amounts of water and resources food production takes. A compost helps turn your food waste in to something productive, putting those banana peels and table scraps to good use versus sitting in a landfill.

Many neighborhoods do not have personal compost bins available and often they are expensive to purchase. Need a project to keep you busy during the pandemic? Constructing a compost is very simple and maintenance is low. Check out this link to see easy DIY compost ideas for Earth Day 2020:

Start a garden.

Gardening is a great way to grow your own food and help Mother Earth for Earth Day 2020. Gardening does a myriad of good things for the environment including: reduce soil erosion and runoff, reduce air and noise pollution, and reduce your carbon footprint. Plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it in to oxygen for us to breathe, improving the air quality for you, your family, and your neighbors. Food grown and sold in supermarkets often comes from very far away, meaning it has to travel a large distance to get to you. If all you have to do to get your tomatoes is step in your back yard, you’re helping to reduce transportation emissions. Garden plants also attract beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden, creating a healthy ecosystem for all the critters (including yourself!).

Learn how to make homemade products.

Many commercially sold products like laundry detergent and multi-surface cleaners have loads of chemicals in them that can be harmful to the environment. While you’re stuck at home, why not learn how to make new products that are a bit friendlier? A simple way to make multi-surface cleaner is to use three parts water to one part vinegar or rubbing alcohol, along with some of your favorite essential oils (optional). Baking soda is a great option for home cleaning, especially bathroom toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. You can make homemade disinfectant wipes with paper towels or unused t-shirts, rubbing alcohol or vinegar, water, and essential oils (optional). Simply add the paper towels or cut-up t-shirt pieces and add them to a container along with one part alcohol or vinegar and one part water. Add essential oils to make them smell nice.

Visit to donate to environmental causes or political movements and find fun tips for going green.


Pat yourself on the back for practicing shelter at home!

Satellite cameras have shown that the air quality has significantly improved during the shelter in place order because there are fewer folks driving and traveling by air. The earth is getting a real *breather!*

Be well.

-Emily H.


Managing stress and anxiety during COVID-19

Managing Stress and Anxiety during COVID-19

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“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.”
― Bryant McGill

During this challenging time and rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, we want you to know that myHealth For Teens & Young Adults is here for you. Changes in our routine, lack of control, and fear of the unknown can cause our mental health to suffer. Prioritizing self-care during this stressful time is important. It can be big or small, something you do by yourself, as a family- or both! Finding things that bring you joy like reading, cuddling with pets, going on a (safe) walk through your community are just a few ways we can take care of our mental health.

We might not have control of what is happening, but we do have a choice on how we handle it. Below are different techniques, resources and ideas to inspire you to take time for yourself, which can improve your mood and help you react calm when faced with stress or challenges.

Need a reminder? Follow myHealth at @myHealthMN on Instagram and Facebook. We will be sharing tips, leading meditations and more!



“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”
— Katie Reed

If we don’t take care of ourselves how can we take care of others? Self-care is when we take an active role in protecting our well-being and happiness, especially during times of stress. There are many ways to practice self-care- staying nourished, limiting media intake, regular exercise or movement and connecting with others are just a few examples. Paying attention to what we need and practicing self-care is not selfish, it can make us more resilient and help us better care for others.

How are you practicing self-care?  Take this quiz from one of our favorite resources, LoveIsRespect, to check-in with yourself and see how you’re doing.



Meditation is often described as focusing your mind for a period of time to think deeply. Meditation is practiced in many cultures all over the world. There are different techniques so it is important to be patient and find one that works for you. Below are a few resources to help you get started!

Guided Meditation:

A narrator leads the meditation, many times directing the person listening to connect with their body, breathing or imagine calming scenes.

Apps: Headspace and Calm are popular with free trials or free aspects. Take a look on your app store there may be others you enjoy- there are many that are friendly for meditators of all ages!

Videos and Audio:

Unguided Meditation:

This type of meditation is focused on sitting quietly and paying attention to thoughts and sensations throughout the body for a set period of time.

Check out Headspace’s guide on how to get started.



Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment. There are many ways to practice mindfulness and build this skill so we are able to step back and be in the present moment in any situation. Just like anything, it takes practice to build this skill.  Meditation, reading, drawing, going for a walk, anything that allows you to focus on the present moment.

Add Mindfulness to your daily activities:

Mindful Walking– Taking a walk (following safe, CDC recommended practices) can be great for mental and physical health! On your next walk practice mindfulness.
Mindful Eating– During your next meal, take some time to be aware of your body’s sensations while you eat.


Grounding Exercises

Sometimes we get overwhelmed and need some help focusing. Grounding exercises are a great way to refocus on the present and surroundings.

Try this countdown exercise when feeling overwhelmed:

Without moving notice your surroundings…

5 things you see

4 things you feel

3 things you hear

2 things you smell

1 thing you taste



We are all important and wonderful humans doing the best we can in a tough situation. Affirmations and mantras are a way we can show self-love. A person can speak these, write them down and read them daily.

Creating an affirmation can be easy. Start with the phrase “I am” and fill in a word you need – think about what is happening in your life and where you might want support. For example, “I am strong and resilient. I am resourceful.”

Need a little more help with managing the Coronavirus pandemic? Check out our past blog post on a self-compassion exercise.

We are in this together, and help is always available.  If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or calling National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Be well.



Happy Holidays

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The holiday season can be an exciting and cheerful time and it can also introduce a variety of stressors when it comes to family. Here at myHealth, we talk to young people about how to have healthy romantic relationships and it’s important to acknowledge that maintaining healthy familial relationships can be just as challenging to navigate. Often when we talk about family, we approach those relationships with an “it is what it is” attitude. It can be easy to feel powerless when it comes to relationships with our family, and that can make “mandatory” holiday events feel stressful. Learning how to set boundaries can drastically improve the quality of these relationships and allow us to leave the holiday season feeling more relaxed and less agitated.

To be able to set these clear boundaries, it’s important to first understand what you want to get out of the holiday season. Is it important to see every relative? What about holiday traditions? Which ones are a must and which ones would you be okay skipping this year? Identify the specific characteristics of the activities you like and the ones that cause you stress. Love not having to leave the house because the whole family comes over but hate getting stuck in the kitchen all day? Tell your family you’re excited to host but that dinner will be a potluck this year. Love the cookie decorating contest at your aunt’s house but hate that she always makes a comment about how many cookies you eat? Decide to do a smaller cookie party for just your immediate family or come prepared to say, “actually, Aunt Deborah, thanks for your concern but I don’t want to talk about my weight” and change the subject. Setting boundaries with family can be really hard, but thinking ahead of time about what you want to get out of the holiday season can allow you to approach gatherings with a renewed spirit. 

Navigating the events can introduce a whole new set of challenges. Practicing healthy self-care through these gatherings is essential for feeling our best through the season. Here are some suggestions for subtle self-care during a family event:

  • Offer to be the person to run to the grocery store if you run out of an ingredient (and do an extra lap down the aisles for some more alone time)
  • Offer to take the dog for a walk
  • Organize an activity to do with the kids if certain family members are getting on your nerves
  • Escape to the bathroom and do a 5-minute meditation
  • If alcohol affects you negatively, choose not to drink, or to drink less during these stressful events
  • Plan an event (real or made up) that starts right after the family gathering so you have an excuse to leave the gathering on time
  • Come up with short and concrete responses ahead of time for unwanted questions you know you might get from family members
  • Practice saying “I’d prefer not to talk about that”
  • Give yourself permission to get up and leave the table (or the event!) if you need to

After a family event, be sure to plan a day of rest for yourself where you can relax and recuperate. You could write affirmations in a journal, do activities that make you feel good or ask a friend to text you some nice compliments for you to look at if you’re feeling down. Whatever you do, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to recharge. 

You may also decide that family gatherings are not in your best interest this year. It is okay for us to set boundaries that prevent us from having to be around relationships that are unhealthy for us. In these times, finding a chosen family can be an empowering way to fill that void. Look for friends that support and uplift you in the way you desire and set aside time to celebrate the holiday season with them. Whether it is a dinner, a party, an afternoon watching your favorite movie together, or a simple exchanging of cards, celebrating the important people in our lives during the holiday season can help us feel valued and loved in a season that can be hard for many of us. 

Happy holidays, and remember- if you feel like you need to talk, or need more tools, we’re here and ready to listen.

 – Emily M


Self-compassion exercise

How Would You Treat a Friend?

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We can all be a little too hard on ourselves. Check out this self-compassion exercise our therapist created to practice shifting our perspective and be more kind to ourselves. Need more exercises like this? We currently are accepting new clients and do not have a waitlist. So if you feel like you need to talk, we’re here and ready to listen.

There is no doubt about it, life can be really hard sometimes and as human beings we all make mistakes. A lot of us become self-critical, feel ashamed and try to fix ourselves when something goes wrong. How do you treat yourself when things fall apart? We are often the hardest on ourselves. If you find yourself beating yourself up about what goes wrong in your life try to the exercise below.

How to Do It:

Take out a sheet of paper or open a blank document on your computer and go through the following steps.

  1. First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him- or herself or is really struggling in some way. How do you respond to your friend in these situations (when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do and say, and note the tone in which you talk to your friend.
  1. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do and say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.
  1. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that leads you to treat yourself and others so differently?
  1. Write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself when you’re suffering in the same way you typically respond to a close friend.
  1. Next time you are struggling with something, try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens.



May 2020: Don't have a mask? We have donated masks!Read Update