General Wellbeing And Balance
The teen years are probably the time of most change in your life. There are massive changes in school, friendships, family, relationships, even bodies. So, you’re not alone if you have times where you feel a rollercoaster of sad, frustrated, lonely, angry, irritated, confused as well as ecstatic and joyful!
It’s kinda like life is like an ocean that you sail through. Sometimes the ocean (life) is really calm and beautiful and sailing through is easy and fun. Other times, the ocean is rough and stormy and sailing through is scary! Taking care of your wellbeing doesn’t mean having an easy life and being happy all the time. No one is happy all the time. It means taking care of yourself so that you’re able to sail through those stormy seas when they come. There’s a few basic things you can do to make the storms easier to weather. (psst! Don’t miss our suggestions of wellbeing apps at the end!)
Obviously, sleep is awesome and makes us feel rad. If we don’t get enough sleep, not only do we struggle to weather storms, but we cant concentrate, problem-solve, or remember things. Unfortunately, about half of teens don’t get enough sleep. If that’s you, take a look at our sleep resources on the main page.
Studies have found that sleep can be as effective as medication in treating depression and anxiety. In fact, doctors say if the effects of exercise could be put in a pill, they would prescribe it to everyone! Exercise actually releases chemicals that tell our brain to ‘calm down’, especially aerobic (or cardio) exercise. As well as releasing ‘happy hormones’, exercise improves our confidence, concentration and memory (important for those upcoming exams, right?!). Find something you love doing and commit to a team or a sporting class (this helps keep you committed on those days when you really can’t be bothered!). More info about exercise for wellbeing is available here.
Did you know the chemical ‘serotonin’ – which is responsible for regulating our mood – is made in the digestive tract!?
The food we put in our bodies is vital for our mood. Our brains need particular nutrients for energy and also to make those ‘happy hormones’. If we’re not putting the right food in our bodies, it’s harder for our brain to make the happy hormones. Some types of food give us an initial rush, but then leave us feeling sluggish and flat (e.g., high sugar foods). Other foods help build those happy hormones, like bananas, nuts, seeds, berries, and fatty fish. Drinking plenty of water is also crucial because your body needs water to absorb all those amazing nutrients. More info is available here.
4. Stay connected, share and give
Human beings are a social species so it’s natural that being around others is essential for our wellbeing. Having positive social connections lowers depression and anxiety and boosts self-esteem. When you’re connecting with mates, it can be really helpful to share how you’re feeling. Just saying the feeling out loud is actually really beneficial. Name it to tame it! Plus, you’ll usually get some reassurance that other people feel similarly sometimes.
When you’re connecting, think about how you might give back to people around you. Maybe you whip up a chicken soup for a sick bestie, or make her a cute vid, or leave a sookie note for your mum. Small acts of giving help others and also tend to help youfeel all warm and fuzzy inside!
5. Learn to relax
Yep – just like anything, switching off and relaxing is a skill you need to learn. This will help you greatly when you hit stormy seas (e.g., exam time!)
We love these examples of different types of rest from Kids Helpline:
- Lounging on the couch
- Deep breathing
- Gentle stretching
- Gentle massage
- Escapism (e.g., gaming, reading)
- Getting absorbed in something you love (e.g., music)
- Being in nature
- closing your eyes
- Turning off tech
- Eating good food
- ‘Wasting time’
- Doing nothing
- Creating something to express and enjoy (rather than to achieve, e.g., improvise a song for your ears only)
- Cancelling plans
- Alone time
- Setting boundaries with friends
- Hanging with your pet
- Going on holidays
- Routines (these put us in auto-pilot neutral)
- Spending time in nature
Check out these rad general wellbeing apps that can help keep you balanced on the seas!