Did you know that 80% of teens in America have admitted to feeling anxious or depressed? That is an astounding and terrifying number. Teen years are supposed to be spent enjoying life, developing lasting relationships, and figuring out who you want to be.
Sadly, the hustle and bustle of modern-day life make it nearly impossible for teens to enjoy their youth. Instead, adolescents are working hard to make it into their first pick college, earning money to plan for their futures, and frantically trying to keep up with their peers and social media influencers.
While the chances of these issues disappearing are slim to none, there is a way to help teens find themselves again and reduce the amount of stress they put themselves under. This is by practicing self-care and using mindfulness techniques.
Why is Practicing Self-care so Important in the Teenage Years?
There is nothing more important than taking care of your mind and body. Self-care is not just about proper hygiene, but also about ensuring you are in tip-top shape, mentally and emotionally as well.
There are many struggles that come with high-school-aged kids, resulting in negative feelings, emotions, and self-worth.
- ¾ high-school students report that homework causes them high levels of stress
- 7 out of 10 teens report that depression and anxiety are large issues among their peers
- ¼ of the college-age population has anxiety over finding a career after school.
- 75% of teens in high school have admitted to feelings of anger, stress, fear, boredom, and sadness while attending class.
- They listed parents as causing stress for 56% of teens in a Baltimore study
- 52% of teens attribute their stress to friendships and 48% to romantic relationships.
- Drug-related issues played a large role in stress-related issues for teens in the same Baltimore study.
The pressures of living teenage life are incredibly difficult and seem to get harder each year. But that doesn’t mean you should not live your best life while taking on the world.
Self-care and mindfulness techniques are great ways to help teens cope with anxiety, depression, fatigue, and so much more.
How to Practice Self-care
Many self-care techniques are available to help change the way you think, act and feel in all the stressful situations you find yourself in during your high school years. The trick here is finding the one that will work for you.
Mental Self-Care Practices
If you are mentally healthy, the rest will follow. On the flip side, if you are not in a good head-space, you will have difficulties in every other aspect of life. Take a little time to get yourself in the best mental state possible through activities you love.
- Practice Mindfulness Techniques- Mindfulness is a way to bring yourself into the “now.” When you are feeling overwhelmed, concentrate on your breathing, keep your thoughts from wandering, and reflect on what makes you happy and smile.
- Practice Gratitude– Forget your troubles for a few minutes and remind yourself of all the good in the world. Think about the people you love, help a neighbor, and donate your time.
- Meditate- Turn on an oil diffuser (hyperlink to essential oil article), sit somewhere comfy, and close your eyes. Try to clear your mind as much as possible. When your mind wanders, pull yourself back in.
- Practice breathing techniques- Many types of breathing techniques are great for reducing stress and improving your mood “in the moment.” You can try deep breathing, focused breath, lions breath, and many others.
Physical Self-Care Practices
The opportunities are endless for teens to stay in peak physical shape. This doesn’t always mean being active and exercising. Sometimes practicing self-care in the physical sense doesn’t require moving at all.
Find something you love doing and just do it.
- Take a walk, go bike riding or rollerblading
- Take a dance class
- Turn off your devices and lounge on the couch in silence
- Do some yoga or gentle stretches
Sensory Self-Care Practices
Sensory overload is a thing, and it affects more people than you would think. Thankfully, there are ways to handle this type of stress as well.
- Take a walk through nature
- Disconnect from devices
- Just close your eyes
- Grab some noise-canceling headphones and eliminate sounds
Emotional Self-Care Practices
It is typical for teens to struggle with their emotions. It’s typical for everyone to be honest. So, when you feel your emotions getting the best of you, here are some ways to soothe your mood.
- Develop a routine– Routines keep us from stressing over “the next step”
- Go on vacation- Take a weekend camping trip or spend the weekend with a friend
- Exercise- Exercise releases chemicals in the body that literally make you feel “Good”
- Talk to someone- Whether it’s with a parent, friend, or professional, sometimes talking it out is the best way to relieve anxiety.
Get Plenty of Sleep
One thing we all need and most of us are short on is sleep. Sleep is essential for the mind, body, and emotions. If you do not get enough sleep at night, you will continue to struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout, no matter what else you try to do.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep every night. In a 2018 study, researchers found that nearly 75% of high-school students weren’t hitting this mark.
Without a good night’s sleep, teens struggle with:
- Staying awake and alert in school
- Loss of interest in activities
- Drowsiness while driving
- Delayed reactions in sports
How to get a better Nights Sleep:
- Shut down devices an hour before you go to bed.
- Write your thoughts and ideas in a journal so you are not thinking about them all night.
- Avoid caffeine 3-5 hours before bedtime.
- Drink some chamomile tea before bed
- Take a warm bath with lavender soap.
- Avoid stimulating activities
There is no way to avoid stress and anxiety during the teenage years. However, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself in a good headspace while navigating throughout life.
Awareness of your emotions, mental state, and signs of burning out are all important for teens. Once you feel you are reaching your breaking point, take some time for a little self-care.