As a parent, it can be difficult to know how best to support your child through the teenage years. Self-care is an essential part of maintaining good mental and physical health for teens, but often they struggle with learning proper self-care practices. This article will help you understand what self-care means, why it’s important, and offer tips on helping teenagers develop healthy habits that set them up for success now, as well as in adulthood.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health, particularly for teens. Self-care is so much more than giving in to indulgences. Good self-care practices can help prevent disease, reduce symptoms of illnesses, increase energy levels, promote overall well-being, and much more.
Why Do Teens Struggle with Self-Care?
Practicing self-care is an important part of teenage life, but it can be difficult to prioritize due to the pressures and demands of growing up. Many teens are bogged down with schoolwork and have full schedules that often include several extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, their mental health can take a backseat until taking care of themselves becomes a priority due to disruptive or problematic mental health issues. Being mindful of how we assess our needs as teenagers offers long-term benefits that last well into adulthood.
How to Practice Self-Care for Teens and Adolescents
Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, many adolescents may be surprised to know that it’s relatively easy to adopt a consistent self-care routine—one that is personalized to their needs and doesn’t take up a significant portion of their already busy day. The following are some basic self-care activities for teens that help promote overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being:
Exercise is an important part of a teen’s daily self-care routine. It can help lessen symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Exercise can take many forms, whether it’s weight training, yoga, organized sports, or simply going for a 15-minute walk each day.
It may seem like a tall task, but getting consistent and restful sleep every night is key in helping teens stay physically and mentally well. Medical research suggests that teens should get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Having a regular sleep schedule will help a teen’s “biological clock” stay in sync which can help regulate emotions.
Having Creative Outlets
An important part of learning how to practice self-care is having an outlet for creative expression, as doing so helps teens express their feelings and thoughts in a productive way. Examples include journaling, writing poetry, dancing, or playing music. Teens can pursue their creative passions through formal lessons or be completely self-taught.
Healthy Peer Interaction
Communicating with and doing activities with one’s peers is an excellent way to promote self-care. While socializing and learning solid social skills are important, taking part in shared activities is an even better way to interact with peers. Examples include gaming, art projects, or after-school clubs and activities.
Turning off Smart Devices
It’s wise to disengage from smartphones and other devices for at least part of the day, every day, as part of a good self-care routine. While it may be extremely difficult to pull away from what friends are posting and the latest Instagram or TikTok trends, taking a break from these devices can help teens reset and recharge.
Help Your Child Help Themselves:
Call embrace U Today!
As a parent, providing the best possible care for your child is always paramount, and that includes their mental health. If your teen needs help with managing their emotions or dealing with challenging life experiences, you can find specially developed programs to support them at embrace U. Our intensive outpatient clinic in Brentwood offers evidence-based care via group sessions, individual therapy, and family counseling, which will empower children aged 10–18 to improve their self-esteem while learning effective communication strategies they can use throughout adulthood.
To learn more about our adolescent therapy program, call embrace U today.