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Self-care. A word we seem to hear quite frequently, but what does it really mean?  Self-care encompasses all facets of, you guessed it, taking care of oneself.  This includes emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.  Unfortunately we live in a digital age where cell phones and staying connected 24/7 seem to take precedence. We are talking more about self-care, but actually practicing it less.  Teenagers especially are at integral parts of their life where choices made as adolescents can become habits as adults.

Below are some tips I would tell my younger teenage self in regards to, you guessed it, self-care!
  • You can eat whatever you want because of your current metabolism, but that doesn’t mean you should.
  • That also means you should stop obsessing about what you eat, and remember moderation is key.
  • And on that note, stop counting calories! Once again, moderation is key!
    • If you eat the brownie or cupcake, let it go!  Everyone deserves a treat every now and then 🙂
  • Subway sandwiches really aren’t that healthy.
  • Being vegetarian doesn’t mean only eating cheese and cereal! (Hello, you are missing key nutrients from meat that you can obtain from vegetables!)
  • For the love of God, don’t think that eating a pack of Mentos or one Lean Cuisine per day is an effective way to lose weight.
  • Speaking of Lean Cuisine, you are eating your days worth of sodium in that microwave meal! Fresh is always better, so:
    • Stop eating artificial foods! If you eat like crap, you are going to feel like crap–mentally and physically. That phrase “you are what you eat” means just that. Natural foods are natural vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function as it’s best self.
  • Confidence comes from within, so put your best foot forward and appreciate what makes you different
  • You don’t have to shower everyday, but take a bubble bath every night to decompress. I promise you’ll sleep better (and add some lavender essential oil for de-stressing).
  • SLEEP!  Yes, actually go to sleep at a normal time. Lack of sleep is equivalent to that of someone drunk and can impact mental thinking at school and work.
  • Whatever you are going through, although it seems like the end of the world, this too shall pass
  • Confiding in a friend or family member about your emotions will be much healthier in the long run than keeping everything inside.
  • Read a good book before bed, your vocabulary will thank you for it (and your SAT scores)
  • Eat breakfast.  Eat lunch.  Eat normal meals!  Do not skip them, your metabolism will slow down and it’s counterproductive.
  • Working out in the morning or at lunch time is one of the best ways to get natural bursts of energy throughout the day.  Also, dancing alone in your bedroom is a perfectly acceptable form of exercise!
  • Give yourself a big hug, you are enough.

If you have a teenager or young child and want to learn about the effects of self-care on teens and how they can practice it to reduce stress, check out this interview with Psychologist Anna Sidis. The more we take care of ourselves as individuals, the more that we can show up for other aspects of our lives  Whether it is handling school tasks, work, or major life changes.

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