Youth Perspective: Finding your outlet

Anna Creekmore is the treasurer of Mentor USA’s Youth Advisory Committee. To deal with stress, feeling overwhelmed and when she needs a break, Anna turns to dance, and in this month’s Youth Perspective article she shares her thoughts on the importance of having an outlet to express your emotions, energy, and talents.

15 November 2021 | Youth Advisory Committee

Everyone has stress and challenges within their lives. Especially us college, high school, and even middle school students. We are constantly being bombarded with assignments, deadlines, extra credit, and the list goes on and on. Your education is always important and should be a priority, but what do you do when it feels like you can’t learn anymore? Your brain feels like it is being crammed with information, pressure to always do your best, and that you can never catch a break. This feeling needs to be addressed, but how? Through outlets.

Outlets are ways that people can express emotions, energy, and talents. This can be anything within that realm of expression. For me personally, I use dancing as an outlet. Dancing allows me to express all of these components in multiple ways. The various styles that are within the huge umbrella of dance allow for expression of various emotions, whether that be joyous or livid, if it’s an emotion it can be expressed through dancing. It also requires energy, which releases any pent-up energy from nervousness or stress I experience. Lastly, it makes me feel good to dance, so trying to be perfect isn’t a worry. Dancing is something I love to do and can luckily experience every day.

Outlets also fulfill other needs that may be missing in your life. Depending on what outlet is best for you, outlets can also serve mediums for exercise and creativity.

Anna Creekmore

Every young adult should have an outlet implemented within their lives to allow for breaks and relaxation in their busy schedules. With so many options, everyone can find an outlet that gives them the expression they need. Recreational sports, writing, yoga, painting, bodybuilding, and more are examples of outlets that young adults can use. In my experience, without dance I would not be as happy as I am. Considering I am a first-year, out-of-state college student along with the ongoing pandemic, my outlet of dancing is necessary to my mental health.

Youth Perspective - Anna Creekmore Mentor USA

Outlets also fulfill other needs that may be missing in your life. Depending on what outlet is best for you, outlets can also serve mediums for exercise and creativity. In the realm of students especially, some curriculums and degrees don’t give much room for creativity or movement of the body. An expressive, energetic outlet gives students what they need that they lack in their pre-built schedules through school. To implement an outlet, start small. Find a 15 minute to 1 hour block in your schedule one time in the week to dedicate to an outlet of your choosing, make it something you enjoy. Once you find what you need within the outlet, depending on the week, you can dedicate as much or as little time to it as you like.

The all too familiar feeling of a burnt-out young adult does not have to be the fate of your mental health. Find what makes you happy, allows you to express yourself, and gives you a sense of relaxation and you have yourself an outlet. To clarify this is not being lazy or prioritizing the wrong things, your mental health and well-being matter, and should always be a priority.