6 Simple Self-Care Tips And Activities for Teens

You think self-care is important for adults? It’s even more critical for teens, especially as they try to balance remote learning with big and small stresses.

If you think of it, the pattern for adults is that they turn to self-care almost as a last resort, when burnout is imminent, and a change is desperately needed. But if teens were to start building self-care habits early on, they may be able to navigate difficulties and challenges more effectively by staying strong and steady through the peaks and valleys.

Being able to maneuver through life’s challenges for some teens is a matter of life and death. According to the Pew Research Center, rates of depression among teens increased 59% from 2007 to 2017. And this is far more common with teenage girls; one in five teenage girls (or 20%) experienced a recent episode of depression, compared to about one in fourteen boys (7%).

The reason for all the doom and gloom for teens? Some experts believe teens now are being raised with unrealistic expectations. Modern media -- and social media -- also tells teens they should always feel good and show the “perfect” aspects of their lives. As a result, parents neglect teaching their teens the kind of coping skills they need to survive during chaotic and pressure-filled times.

All of this points to self-care as a possible solution. In fact, there’s no time when it’s more essential than in adolescence. Here’s why self-care is important for teens and some ways they can incorporate self-care activities into their daily routines.

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1. Put down your phone

Young people consume so much social media and spend so many hours on their phones that no wonder there are increased levels of anxiety for teens in general. Too much social media has been linked with health issues, including depression and a lack of self-esteem. Taking a break to disconnect and spend time with your best friend or cultivating healthy relationships is necessary for building a quality life, especially in high school. Constantly being on your phone limits that. Leave it in another room or put it in a drawer and see how long it takes you to forget it exists.

2. Try a contemplative practice, like meditation

Having a regular meditation practice, like for 10 minutes per day, can be life-changing. It reduces stress, controls anxiety, and makes you more mindful and self-aware. Even a few deep breaths in the middle of the day can help your teen to regain focus and relieve stress. A short, daily practice can be more effective than long sessions, so start your teen out with a mindfulness app like Headspace or Calm. Or consider a mindfulness subscription like Listen-Color-Relax, a quarterly box that focuses on calming activities that help relieve anxiety and reduce stress. You’ll get a gift set of 12 beautifully drawn coloring pages printed on premium paper, along with a 45-minute CD of soothing piano music and 4 note cards, all designed to help your teen relax and unwind.

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Indulge in Creative Expression

Creative expression has multiple benefits for emotional health. It gives teens a way to release complicated emotions through music, journaling, visual arts, or hobbies. Extracurricular activities that invoke a sense of peace and calm can be wildly effective for reducing stress during the teen years.

Each month, the Craft in Style Box delivers Pinterest-worthy craft projects and the supplies needed to complete them. Teens can expect a new DIY project, easy-to-follow instructions, tools and supplies. Craft projects include things like terrariums, candle pouring, sun print photography, and more.

Have a DIY Spa Day at Home

Teens with a busy schedule can stop and indulge in self-love by having a DIY spa day at home. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a spa day, either. All you need are some face masks, bath bombs, bubble bath, your favorite music, diffuser with your favorite oils and voila!

For a little help with your at-home day spa, consider FaceTory, a Korean sheet mask subscription that delivers some of the most innovative K-beauty brands every month. Choose between three subscription options delivering four or seven masks, or a combination of masks and Korean skincare products.

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Get Out in Nature

Research has repeatedly shown a link between being outdoors and lower levels of stress, depression and anxiety. Time in nature also helps counteract the mood disturbance caused by too much screen time. Doing regular outdoor activities as a family can help adolescents build this all-important habit.

Move and Exercise Regularly

Whether it’s sports, gym workouts, walks, running, Zumba, or yoga, movement helps both physical and mental health. The activity doesn’t matter as long as it’s consistent. Do a Shot of Yoga can help cultivate a yoga practice. Each box is curated around a new theme and includes 1-2 full-sized yoga or self-care items, 3-4 items like workout gear and accessories, and a yoga lifestyle book or journal.

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Focus on Setting Goals

Regular “me time” that focuses on the things that make you happy and healthy are great self-care routines. Before long, the JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) will keep your sights set on accomplishing personal goals.

The Dream Girl Box is a quarterly subscription that helps girls between ages 4-16 develop the life skills and leadership they need to reach any goal they set their minds to.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Being thankful may not be a skill that comes naturally to teens. But given that multiple studies show that it increases happiness and positivity, keeping a gratitude journal is a worthy habit to cultivate.

Have you ever thought about what you DO have, rather than focus on what you don’t? Gratitude journaling shifts your mindset from being negative to instantly positive, because at a glance, you can see what you have in your life.

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5. Saying positive affirmations

Positivity can have a huge effect on overall mindset and self-esteem for teens. Try repeating positive affirmations, like “I am strong. I love myself. I am worthy. I believe in myself,” on a daily basis so that you aren’t so hard on yourself. One Girl Inspired is on a mission to motivate teen girls by delivering a thoughtful mix of products, including journals and personal development books to help create confident girls who know that hard work is the best way to accomplish their dreams and goals. Each box also packs fun gift items, like school supplies, beauty goodies and tech gadgets.