Busy-ness enters a new level during the holiday season. Organizing family visits, planning and attending holiday events, and hustling to find the perfect gifts, can all take a toll on your energy and mood. Before you know it, you are feeling depleted and exhausted. For teens and college students, the holiday weeks present a break from school, but for most, it comes on the tail of midterms or final exams. Thus, they start their winter break mentally drained and physically exhausted. This is when implementing self-care is crucial for teens and young adults.
Self-care is always important and especially key when you’re experiencing busy, stressful times. Self-care practices for teens and young adults are helpful tools for self-soothing and promoting well-being. They foster balance and increase energy, both of which are crucial to minimize overstimulation, overwhelm, or just plain exhaustion! When you practice self-care with your daughter, you both reap the benefits. Plus, you are showing her how to prioritize her mental health and integrate supportive routines into her life.
There are many ways teens, young adults, and parents can practice self-care. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Carve out time each day to do something that makes you feel good.
Take an inventory of the things you do that bring a sense of joy and peace. It may be baking, taking a bath, walking in nature, or watching your favorite Netflix show. Even if it’s just five minutes, make sure each day includes one of these activities. Hold each other accountable. You will start to create more joy and peace in an otherwise busy or stressful day, and give yourself something to look forward to.
2. Eat a balanced diet (and kick guilt to the curb!)
Food has a powerful influence on your emotions. Eating foods that are easy for your body to digest will bring you more energy. These foods include fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains. At the same time, don’t deprive yourself of indulgent goodies. When you decide to indulge, savor every bite, and don’t let guilt creep in. Remind yourself that a sweet treat once in a while is part of balance and enjoyment!
3. Watch your inner dialogue.
Similar to the food you eat, the thoughts you think affect your emotions. Guilt and shame tend to follow self-criticism. Your self-esteem takes a hit each time you’re hard on yourself for messing up. Instead, practice self-compassion. Notice when your inner dialogue is negative and meet it with gentleness. See your mistakes as unique opportunities for self-discovery and remember that positive self-talk is always more helpful than self-criticism.
4. Slow down.
When you catch yourself in a rush, let that be a cue to slow down. Although it may sound counterintuitive, slowing down will actually help you be more efficient and productive. You will be less likely to make mistakes and more likely to enjoy the process and savor the outcome.
Pretty simple. Throughout your day, pause and take slow deep breaths. Focus on the length and sensation of your breath. Feel the breath change the shape of your body. Observe your inhale bringing energy or focus and your exhale creating calm and relaxing physical tension. You will instantly feel better!
6. Ask for help, and accept it.
Family members, friends, and teachers are there to help, although many teens and young adults don’t ask for it. Some feel it might be seen as a weakness. Some fear a request for help will create a burden for someone else. Asking for help gives those around you an opportunity. Remember they can always say no! Use your support team and accept their outreach.