It can be difficult to navigate mental health as a teenager. The pressures of school; the demands of extracurriculars; social media and all of its pitfalls; friend drama; dating drama; parent drama!
It’s a turbulent time of growth and change. And it can feel ROUGH. Sometimes, as a teen, you don’t even know how to put into words what you’re feeling. Or it seems too scary to share what you’re thinking. Other times, you might feel like your mental health concerns are dismissed because people just assume it’s ‘teenager’ stuff.
But taking care of your mental health is incredibly important, and your concerns and needs are valid. Our team is here to help you feel and understand that message.
Below you can find some tips for setting yourself up for success with your mental health as the school year gets going.
These aren’t going to fix everything, but they are good pieces of advice to keep in mind so you can feel as good as possible. Which we care about!
Learn and practice healthy habits.
Start doing good things for yourself early in the school year, because it’s not going to get easier when your schedule gets crazier. Picking up some healthy habits right away can help the year not feel so overwhelming and draining.
Include movement in your day, even if it’s just dancing around your room. This gets your endorphins moving and can boost your mood. And it’s a good break after being trapped in a desk all day.
Sleep is also vital for good mental health. And when you start not getting enough of it it has a bad effect on your wellbeing. Like, really bad. Try to find a sleep schedule that works for you and leaves you feeling well-rested. Stick to it as close as you can! This consistency is one of the biggest factors in good sleep hygiene and good mental health hygiene.
If there are other habits you know make you feel better, start working them into your day as early in the year as you can so they become part of your routine.
Make Some Time For Yourself
When school starts, so do sports teams, band practices, theater rehearsals, study groups… the list goes on and on. Some of these activities are fun and some of them are draining. But no matter how you feel about them, they all take your time and energy, and that doesn’t even include homework and the being in school part.
Try not to book your schedule so full that you don’t have time to sit by yourself.
Even if you like to be busy, it’s important to take some quiet time during the week to unwind and check in with yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, or just lay on your bed in the quiet. Whatever solo activities you like, don’t push them out of your schedule. They’re super important to maintaining good mental health throughout the year.
Talk About Your Feelings
It can be difficult and scary to talk about your mental health but talking with others can help you deal with whatever comes up. If something’s wrong and no one else knows, they can’t connect you with resources that will help you feel better.
Think about the safe people in your life. If you have a good relationship with your parents or guardian, this is often a good place to start. If you don’t, try to pick another safe person in your life like a relative, a teacher, or a coach. You can absolutely talk about mental health with your friends too, and you should—it’s good to normalize mental health struggles. But if you think you need to get help, it’s good to speak with someone who knows what resources might be available to you.
Many people believe that teenagers just naturally have poor mental health, but they're wrong. It’s more likely that no one has stopped to ask what they need or taught them how to take care of their minds and emotions. The tips in this article give you some control over this part of your life and provide starting points for caring for yourself.
If you have the tools, you will be able to use them if something comes up.
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