The only thing that’s constant about your teenage years is change. Your teenage years are the years when your life changes quickly which puts on some mental and physical stress; you go through changes in school, your body and hormones change, and most likely your personal life isn’t stable as well. So, this puts stress on a teenager which is why they need to practice self-care.
Although there is a lot of information about teenage mental health, mental health treatments for teens, and increasingly rising awareness towards these topics, there isn’t much information about what they should do to practice self-care.
But first, how does someone define self-care? Well, for most people, when they hear this word the first thing that pops into their mind is bubble baths, shopping, spa days, nail appointments, and all those things. However, self-care is so much more than this–it’s things you do for yourself to improve or release some stress from your mind and body, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable. Self-care can be having a nutritious meal and can be confronting someone when it’s the last thing you want to do. So, self-care is not all bubble baths and shopping sprees.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 31.95 of adolescents in the United States had any type of anxiety disorder. Therefore, practicing self-care is very important for the well-being of all humans, especially teenagers who are in a critical stage of their self-development.
Here are some self-care practices:
Table of Contents
1. Gratitude practices
With the amount of social media exposure teenagers have these days, it is easy for them to get swayed by all the things they see: the different lives, relationships, vacations, etc… and because most of these things aren’t realistic or don’t show the full story, it makes them compare their lives to others, which leaves them unable to feel grateful for what they already have. So, it’s beneficial for teenagers to make a habit of practicing gratitude regularly to welcome positivity and better things into their lives.
2. Practicing mindfulness
One of the things most of us struggle with and aren’t getting the attention it needs is living in the present moment. We always worry about the future and think about our past mistakes, and forget that the only thing we have for sure is the present moment that we’re in. Also, because we are constantly busy and distracted, redirecting our focus to the present moment isn’t easy.
For teenagers, it’s common that they feel frustrated with everything going on around them and spend most of their time worrying about what happened and what they’ll do next. Practicing mindfulness by trying to limit multi-tasking and focusing on one task at a time, reducing distractions as much as possible, and sitting with themselves and soaking up the current moment is a good start for them.
3. Try different hobbies
Pursuing a hobby is one of the best self-care practices someone can do. People with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression, according to research. Group hobbies like playing a team sport help you go out with others and improve your communication skills. But hobbies don’t have to be about sports if you’re not into the. Hobbies can be anything that helps you feel calm and relaxed like drawing, writing, dancing, reading, cooking, organizing, arts and crafts, journaling, etc.
4. Focus on quality of sleep
Oftentimes, teenagers don’t understand the benefits of quality sleep and would rather stay late than go to bed early. However, getting quality sleep and regulating your sleep cycle is essential to the functioning of your brain, your health, and your mental health. Getting enough sleep lowers the risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, makes you think and concentrate better, helps with maintaining a healthy weight, reduces stress and improves your mood, and makes you ready to make the most out of your day.
5. More self-acceptance, less negative self-talk
Accepting oneself starts with knowing oneself. When you understand who you are, what your values are, what makes you happy, what are your strengths, what are things you want to work on, and so on, it sets a ground for self-acceptance because you understand yourself and what makes you, you. Self-acceptance is an essential act of self-care and it’s better to start as early as possible so that a teenager grows into the best version of themselves while embracing who they are.