Introduce Your Kids to Self-Care
by Seth Murphy
Whether you’re a grown adult or a teenager, life’s stressors and frustrations are easier to cope with when you know how to take care of yourself. Conversely, it’s easier to become burnt out without proper self-care, leaving you vulnerable to depression or even health issues. To help, Walkaway NFL has put together the following tips to help you reach your teen about self-care.
Know Why Your Teenager Should Practice Self-Care
Depression is becoming more common in teenagers. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017, 13% of teenagers in the U.S. claimed to have gone through at least one major depressive episode in the past year, compared to 8% in 2007. However, with better self-care habits, your child can reduce their depression or anxiety frequency and intensity.
Try Guided Meditation
Meditation is as simple as listening to an audio file and following along with its instructions. However, your kids may want to start with more accessible, briefer-guided meditations, including activities such as eating a raisin mindfully. Once they become comfortable with short meditation practices, they can delve into full-body scans that take longer but may ultimately be more beneficial and enjoyable.
Commit to Exercise
Frequent exercise as a way to unwind is vital to avoid burnout, as it is a proven way to keep your body healthy and effectively reduce stress and anxiety. Even just five minutes of aerobic exercise has beneficial effects on the mind and body. Of course, your kids don’t need to set aside workout time at the gym; playing sports, hiking, or biking are all forms of exercise.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
The simple act of remembering and writing down things you’re grateful for is a great way to shift your mindset to something positive. Multiple studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal is beneficial to mental health. By focusing on what you have over what you don’t have — which is especially important to counter the effects of social media, known to make your kids jealous of others — you and your kids can refocus your minds and feel happier.
Work With Your Kids to Reduce Family Stress
The best way to involve your kids in self-care is to practice it yourself. Kids imitate their parents, so if you practice self-care, your kids are far more likely to practice it.
Being a parent to a teenager while working from home contains particular challenges. Stress is often the result when everyone is in the house for lengthy periods. However, there are ways to manage a situation like this, so everyone stays happy and healthy.
Making a schedule and setting aside the time may be just what you need to make sure your children feel included in your life. You may wish to work with your child to synchronize your working times as much as possible. For example, if your kids have a set time they do homework, you will know when you can work without distractions.
Make sure your kids set time aside for breaks, too, as it’s easy to lose focus if they work too hard for too long. You both may benefit from establishing ground rules, such as having a do-not-disturb policy while in your office unless there’s an emergency.
Clear the Mess
If your teen’s room has turned into a messy catch-all of clothes, shoes, papers, artwork, gel pens, socks, and anything else, this clutter makes it difficult to focus on studying and contributes to stress and anxiety. Take note: the same applies to your home office.
With burnout, depression, and anxiety all on the rise in teenagers, it’s more important to practice proper self-care to help manage these symptoms. However, with just a few lifestyle changes, your kids may start to feel better able to tackle the unique challenges teenagers face.
Walkaway NFL will provide you with many ideas for family or individual activities if you’re boycotting the NFL season. On this website, you’ll find stories and links that you can use to fill your time—creative and exciting activities to replace your usual NFL TV time.