The teen years are a common time in life for the first signs of mood disorders and emotional imbalances to appear. However, teens rarely have the tools to cope with these properly — and indeed, often don’t know how to talk about them to begin with. Here are some tools courtesy of Keith Senzer, owner of Powershift Coaching, that you can use to guide teens toward mentally healthier habits at home:
Foster Healthy Habits at Home
Much of mental health self-care overlaps with physical self-care. Things like eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting a good night’s sleep are just as important for emotional regulation as they are for any other part of your wellbeing. Make sure your family is reaching these basic self-care goals and, if they aren’t, help them come up with a plan to gradually shift their habits in a healthier direction.
Regular exercise is an extremely effective coping tool, but many parents worry about sparking body anxiety if they encourage their children to work out. Sidestep this issue by encouraging a gentle, mindful relationship with movement. For example, there are many forms of yoga that, while not particularly intense, still build strength, flexibility, and mind-body connection.
Help Them Create a Relaxing Space
Everyone needs a space they can use to relax and unwind without stress or interruption. For teens, this space is typically their bedroom — however, there are plenty of features in the average teen bedroom that might make them more stressed out, not less. For example, many teenagers have a visible desk in their bedroom — or worse, do homework on their beds. Consider getting your child a folding desk they can tuck away or put out of sight when they’re done working.
If they’ve been extremely stressed lately, it might be worthwhile to help them reset the energy in their room. Encourage them to try different furniture layouts, paint a wall, or even just let in some fresh air. Measures like these can help break down stressful associations they may have built up, making their space more inviting and relaxing.
Lead By Example
Finally, keep your kids informed about how you’re caring for your own mental health. Children – teens, especially – need to see that adults aren’t perfect and that taking care of mental health is often as challenging as it is important. Be honest and open with them on a level they can understand. Share any coping tools you use regularly, such as prayer, journaling, or exercise. If you see a therapist or take medication to treat a mental illness, let them know.
It’s so easy for teens to feel alone when it comes to mental health struggles. Being open and vulnerable with them can shift that perspective entirely. This is a powerful way to destigmatize mental health care and make sure your kids know they’re never alone. And if you need some extra support, Powershift Coaching’s one-on-one Teen Skills Mastery Program can help your child focus on their goals and work toward achieving them, which will boost their self-esteem and overall mental health.
Photo Credit: Pexels. Article by Leslie Campos