8 Self-Care Tips for Teens
Being a teen comes with its ups and downs. While you have your entire life ahead of you, you may also have a lot on your plate right now. There's schoolwork, sports, friendships, family, college applications, and future careers to think about, so how can you possibly find the time to take care of yourself?
The truth is, self-care isn't always about going to the spa or buying yourself something nice; but rather, it's about checking in with yourself. We all need breaks to recharge our physical and emotional batteries. Our mental health depends on it.
By practicing self-care, you'll be better equipped to handle stress, boost your mood, have healthy relationships, and improve your overall well being.
Here are eight simple things you can do every day to practice self-care to be the best and healthiest version of yourself.
- Check-in with your mind. It's easy to go through the day and forget to pause to notice what we're thinking about. When you get up in the morning, what thoughts are racing through your mind? Do you feel calm and relaxed in the morning, or are hundreds of thoughts racing through your mind? The more you feel stressed in the morning, the more likely you will feel stressed for the rest of your day. Start to notice your thoughts; they can help you pinpoint what may be making you feel anxious and cope with them.
- Check-in with your body. The same way we often forget to check in with our minds, we can often forget to check in with how we’re physically feeling. Maybe you’re feeling tense in your shoulders, or you notice that you’ve been clenching your jaw when anxiety arises. Or, you’re so busy that you forget to eat. These feelings can start to feel normal to the point that we don't recognize them anymore. However, by bringing attention to our bodies throughout the day, we can start to release tension and relax the areas that tend to take on the most stress.
- Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a proven technique for reducing stress and anxiety. It can do incredible things for the body, such as reducing blood pressure and lowering cortisol, a stress hormone. Not only that, but by taking a few moments every day to pause and breathe, we can boost our mood, reduce anxiety, and improve our overall well being.
- Exercise. You already know that exercise is healthy for your physical health, but it's also beneficial for your mental health. Try to do some physical activity daily, whether it's taking your dog for a long walk, dancing with loud music on, or doing an online workout class at home. Even the smallest of efforts to get your body moving is key to having a healthy mind.
- Practice gratitude. Take a few minutes every day to pause and think about the things you're grateful for. Whether you choose to be grateful while getting ready in the morning or have it as a part of your daily wind-down routine when you're getting ready for bed is up to you. Noticing the good tiny things in your life can have a lasting, positive effect on your mental health.
- Do something you love. With a busy schedule and responsibilities you have every day, don't forget to do things you enjoy doing! Write it down in your schedule, so it's a part of your day. Whether you choose to read, watch Netflix, or play with your dog, we all need to remember to make time for the things we love. Not only will it give you something to look forward to, but it'll make the not-so-fun things like school or work are easier to get through.
- Be mindful. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. While it may seem like a simple concept, it can take some time to get used to. We're accustomed to focusing on multiple things or worrying about the future; we forget to live in the here and now.
An easy exercise to start with could be utilizing your five senses. Notice something you smell, taste, see, hear, or touch in your current environment. This grounds you to the present moment, and over time, you’ll find that mindfulness turns into a habit rather than a chore. Even a few minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health.
- Nourish your body. When we’re busy and stressed, we tend to crave foods that aren’t the healthiest. While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time, if our bodies don’t get the proper nutrition they need, it can lower your energy levels and your mood, not to mention make anxiety worse. Take the time to think about what your body needs, and give it the proper nutrition it deserves.
Finding support for your mental health
At Michigan Psychological Care, our providers can see patients as young as four years old to as old as the late teens for a variety of issues. If you’re a teen facing stress, anxiety, or depression, we can provide specialized individual counseling sessions to help meet your needs.
Keywords: therapist, anxiety therapy, mental health, adolescent therapy