With school responsibilities, homework, sports, clubs, and any other obligations you may have, how is it possible to keep yourself sane as a kid? In 2020, there are so many pressures on you! Now more than ever, accomplishments like getting into the best college, being the best at whatever sport or instrument you play, or being awarded a scholarship are hammered into you from a young age. This pressure can build and mount, leading to a slew of physical and mental health issues. It’s not surprising that you might question: How do I maintain a good sense of overall well-being when I have so many pressures as a kid today?
There are the obvious things that we know are good for our health, like exercising and eating healthy, but there are also little things that can add up to boost your overall mood and sense of well-being. Here are some helpful things you can do for yourself:
- Limit your screen time. There are numerous studies that show the importance of limiting one’s time in front of a screen. Greater screen time can lead to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and attention issues. The more time you are able to spend away from a screen and the more ways you find to keep yourself busy, the more you build “mental muscles” to tolerate distress, and then successfully face stress and anxiety head-on.
- Spend more face-to-face time with friends. No, I do not mean more Face Timing with friends on your phone. I mean actual in-person, real life, being in the same room as your friends, friend-time. Face to face interaction promotes social connectedness, engagement, mindfulness, and staying present in general. When we are talking to our friends on the phone through text or face-time, there are many other distractions that come into play and can take you out of the moment, which may lead to taking away some of the connectedness as well. Being in the present moment helps your mind not ruminate about the past or future, and simultaneously nurtures the relationship by giving it focus and deserved attention.
- If you play video games, play in an online platform as much as possible. Instead of staring off mindlessly playing alone, playing with others will encourage you to interact, work together on a team, and strengthens communication skills in an effort to achieve a shared goal. This will keep you connected socially and further improve overall well-being.
- Ask for help: If you are struggling mentally or physically, don’t hesitate to reach out to a parent, trusted friend, teacher, school counselor, therapist, doctor, coach, or principal. It is a sign of strength and bravery when a person can express that they are needing some extra support. Getting help increases well-being whereas going through something difficult by yourself can increase stress.
- Schedule time to do the things you enjoy. Whether it’s playing basketball, writing, drawing, or playing an instrument; setting aside time to do an activity that relaxes you and gives you peace of mind can help create mental space that is otherwise constricted by all of your other responsibilities.
- Practice daily breathing, meditation, or relaxation exercises. These exercises can lead to decreased levels of anxiety and depression, and help promote well-being. For more information on practicing these techniques, visit https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/six-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress.
It’s important to remember that the little things you do throughout the day add up and they either benefit or negatively impact your overall well-being. Next time you have some free time, try implementing one of the techniques discussed and see how it affects your overall mood and sense of well-being. Lastly, remember that the more often you engage in these activities, the more likely you are to notice the benefits.