Adolescence is an important time of growing and maturing yet also relatively tumultuous. With all of the physical and emotional changes that come with this important life stage, establishing healthy habits for teens can help guide and nurture them through this important transition to adulthood. In this article, we explore ways to foster well-being during adolescent years by setting healthy habits for teens that will last them a lifetime.
1. Promoting Positive Mental Health in Adolescence
Mental health is of utmost importance in adolescents, as emotional and behavioral problems can influence a young person’s entire trajectory throughout life. Mental health promotion and the prevention of mental health problems must be addressed at an early age.
Schools and Communities
- Schools and other learning communities can create an optimal environment to nurture mental and emotional wellbeing. A positive and supportive learning setting can help adolescents manage stress.
- Schools should also facilitate conversations around mental health, such as by providing services and materials to educate students about mental health topics.
- It’s important for an adolescent’s primary caregivers to frequently check in with them to monitor for signs of potential struggles. Regular conversations about mental health topics can foster open dialogue and understanding.
- Taking the time to truly listen to adolescents can help them convey how they are feeling and provide appropriate and tailored support.
- Physical activity helps combat stress, depression, and anxiety and can increase an adolescent’s sense of wellbeing. Encouraging adolescents to become and stay involved in physical activities can be beneficial.
- Working out does not have to cost a lot of money and there are numerous opportunities for adolescents to stay active, from sports teams to fitness programs to simply going on a daily walk.
2. Eating Habits for Optimal Well-Being During Teenage Years
During the teenage years, it is especially important to develop healthy eating habits in order to ensure optimal well-being. Eating the right combination of foods can help to sustain energy levels and improve mental clarity. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make fruits and Vegetables a Priority – Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help teens to get the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try to fill half of the plate at every meal with fruits and vegetables.
- Watch Portion Sizes – Eating too much can be an issue, especially when it comes to richer foods like desserts and snacks. Filling a plate with servings that are too large can result in an unhealthy diet.
- Choose Balance – A well rounded diet can include a variety of protein sources, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Eating a variety of foods can give the body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
It is also important to limit intake of unhealthy items, such as fried foods, processed snacks, and sugary drinks. Out of moderation, these items can be detrimental to physical and mental health. Additionally, teens should try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Creating healthy eating habits from a young age can help to promote positive lifestyle choices for the future. Eating a balanced diet can have a big impact on energy levels, mood, and even academic performance.
3. Exercise and Movement for Long-Term Health in Teens
Staying physically active is an important part of promoting long-term health in teens, both now and in the future. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for adolescents to start building strong healthy habits today.
Regular physical activity and exercise can help teens maintain a healthy weight, as well as improve bone and muscle strength and endurance. One way to make exercise fun and enjoyable is to find physical activities that teenagers are interested in, such as swimming, cycling, soccer, or basketball.
Another way to stay active is to incorporate movement into everyday activities. Teens should aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week. Simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or incorporating walking or cycling into the daily commute can help teens stay active throughout the day.
Here are some tips for encouraging teens to stay active:
- Encourage family members to be active together
- Make physical activities available and accessible in the community
- Encourage teens to join an after-school sports team or activity
- Provide teens with a safe environment and equipment to practice physical activities
- Set a good example as a parent by staying active yourself
By creating positive habits and environments, teens can enjoy better physical and mental wellbeing long-term.
4. Establishing a Support Network and Connecting with Nature
Finding a Support System
No one should ever have to go through a difficult time alone. Surrounding yourself with a reliable support network that understands your emotions can be the key to navigating these trying times. It can be comforting to reach out to trusted family and friends, or having a virtual conversation with them to let it all out. You can join online communities with people who have been through or are experiencing the same challenges as you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from mental health professionals if needed.
When it comes to talking about mental and emotional issues, having people you can talk to is essential. Be patient and understanding of yourself as you open up and find solace in sharing your stories.
Becoming One with Nature
Sometimes just sitting outside in the warmth of the sun can do wonders for your mood. While outdoors, take some time to observe and admire the sights and sounds that nature has to offer. Pay attention to the little details that may have gone unnoticed before; a beautiful flower blooming or a bird nesting birds in the tree.
Find a spot in your local park, beach, or woods to wander around and explore. Spend some quality time with yourself and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Research nearby nature trails and trails, or go camping or kayaking if you can. Connecting with nature can help relieve your stress, negativity, and fear as you engage with the healing power of Mother Nature.
5. Building Healthy Habits: Taking Responsibility for Teen Well-Being
Teenagers have the power to make important decisions that can impact their health and wellness. Taking responsibility for their own well-being is a task that is best accomplished with healthy habits. Here are five habits that can help teens stay in good shape:
- Exercise Regularly: Making time for physical activity is beneficial for maintaining healthier bodies and minds. Exercise releases endorphins which provide an increase in energy, helps teens manage stress and can improve sleep.
- Eat Healthily: Eating the right balance of nutritious foods can help boost energy levels, provide essential vitamins and minerals, and assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits, limiting unhealthy snacks, and drinking plenty of water are all important.
- Get Quality Sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and an overall decrease in academic performance. Teens should try and establish consistent sleep schedules.
- Manage Stress: Excessive stress can have negative impacts on physical and mental health. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as talking to a friend or engaging in a calming activity, is important in order to avoid negative consequences.
- Stay Positive: A healthy attitude can contribute to overall wellness in both teens and adults. Practicing regular gratitude and focusing on the positive can help manage stress levels and build a healthier outlook on life.
Each individual should focus on the habits that work best for them, and learn to recognize when too much work or stress is taking a toll. Building healthy habits is an important part of being a responsible teenager.
Adolescence is an important time of development and growth, and by cultivating healthy habits, teens can foster an environment of well-being for themselves. The simple steps outlined in this article can serve as the foundation for a healthier, happier adolescent life. So, what are you waiting for – the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll experience the benefits of boosting your well-being!