HELPING YOUTH ESTABLISH SELF-CARE ROUTINES

Stress and hard times are inevitable in life. They can strike anyone at any time, and youth are no exception. In 2016, 4.4 million youth in the United States between were diagnosed with anxiety and 1.9 million with depression, according to the Center for Disease Control (Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health, 2020). The number of youth suffering from these issues is highest for 12 to 17 years old.

To help youth bolster their mental health, we need to teach them how to deal with stress. By learning self-care habits at a young age, youth can learn to cope with stress in a healthy way. They can also create healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

WHAT IS SELF-CARE?

Self-care is all about taking time out of your day to improve your physical and mental health. This could be taking a walk, listening to calming music, or journaling. Whatever outlet you choose, it should help you decompress after a challenging day.

WHAT OUTLETS WORK BEST?

Everyone reacts to stress differently. That being said, it’s no surprise that how we cope with that stress also varies. It is important to find out what self-care activities will help each youth the most. To do so, we recommend completing the activities on our downloadable self-care calendar. This calendar has a mix of activities to help youth determine which ones are the most helpful for them. Encourage your youth to track which activities they enjoyed doing the most. Since all of these activities are adult-friendly as well, you could also make this a group activity.

CREATING A ROUTINE

Self-care activities should not be reserved for bad days. Motivate your youth to choose three days a week to dedicate to their mental wellbeing. A youth could choose to take a run on Mondays, clean their room on Wednesdays, and meditate on Saturdays. Even just 30 minutes, three times a week can make a huge difference. By establishing a self-care routine at an early age, these youth will be better able to cope with stress. These tools will also help them cope with life’s difficulties well into adulthood.

REFERENCES

“Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html#ref.

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