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17 Effective (And Fun!) Ways Your Teen Can Practice Self-Care

17 Effective (And Fun!) Ways Your Teen Can Practice Self-Care

17 Effective (And Fun!) Ways Your Teen Can Practice Self-Care

Self-care doesn’t come naturally to teenagers. We need to teach them self care. Here are 17 self-care ideas to encourage our teens to improve physical and mental health.

20 Self-Care Activities for Teens

1. Schedule downtime

We live in a world of constant stimulation. No matter where you go, you see people engrossed in their phones, or talking to someone you can’t see.  

Our teens are being bombarded with things they “must do” to be successful: homework, extracurricular activities, exercise, volunteering and more. While these things are important, so is rest. That could be a quiet night at home or a weekend camping trip.

2. Encourage Sleep 

Word is slowly getting out that teens need more sleep than adults. Encourage them to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

3. Suggest screen time

No, not that screen. Watch TV or go to the movies. Watching movies can increase empathy, strengthen relationships, and improve mental health.

4. Provide the ways and means to create 

Being creative can relax some people. Things such as writing, drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, even cooking and baking can be soothing as well as mood and self-esteem boosters.

5. Surround your family with books

Making reading a habit not only provides education, mental stimulation and a source of entertainment but also improves vocabulary, focus, memory, and analytical thinking and communication skills. A good book can transport you to another world and allow stress to melt away. 

6. Encourage them to get up and move

Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity also offers an immediate impact: it improves cognition and reduces anxiety. This can mean hitting the gym, practicing yoga, dancing going for a hike or bicycle ride or playing a sport (for fun or competitively). 

7. Pay attention to what (and when) you eat

As a parent of a teen, you don’t want to harp on their food choices (which could contribute to an eating disorder) but you should make a point of stocking healthy snack options and model making good food choices yourself. Eating at regular intervals is also important to help regulate blood sugar, and moods. (It will also reduce hangry episodes).

8. Suggest meditation

Meditation is a well-known way to reduce stress. Meditation for teens can be as simple as spending quiet time with their own thoughts or as part of a group.

9. Push them to look outside themselves

Doing something to help others feel good. Volunteering for a cause increases empathy. It allows teens to see things through another lens, and gain new appreciation for their own situation. It increases social interaction and provides a sense of purpose: Teens who volunteer feel like they are making a significant contribution and making a difference. 

10. Get a pet

It’s no big secret that pets have a relaxing effect on humans. 

11. Let them hang out with friends

Stable, healthy friendships are crucial for our well-being and longevity.” Spending time with friends is not only an enjoyable way to pass time, it also helps to lower stress levels and improve overall health. 

12. Turn on the tunes

Music is magic.  It can motivate you to move, or help you sleep better. 

13. Suggest a warm drink

There’s a reason moms offer warm milk to children who can’t sleep. A warm beverage is soothing. 

14. Prepare a warm bath (with or without bubbles)

Warm baths can reduce the level of stress hormones and help balance serotonin levels. They can help relieve sore muscles and joints and reduce levels of stress and anxiety. 

15. Buy them a journal

Unlike many other types of writing, a journal isn’t meant to be shared. Instead, these words are recorded for the benefit of the writer. A journal can be used as a diary, a to-do list, a vision board, a place to record thoughts and dreams, a record of things or events, or even a place to doodle or draw. Keeping a journal can provide a way to remove overwhelming thoughts.

16. Suggest they try something new

New ideas are exciting. They stimulate different areas of the brain and create new neural pathways. Exploring new ideas also makes it easier to adapt to new situations and fosters a more flexible mindset. 

17. Nothing

Our lives have become so busy that many of us can’t comprehend doing nothing. “Nothing is everything. Sitting in a space where we free ourselves from all our ‘shoulds’ and instead do nothing … can refuel us. It can recenter us. It can remind us of what matters.”


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