It’s pretty safe to say that for the most part our parents want us to go to school, get good grades, stay away from bad influences, and to push ourselves to be the best. But what they don’t always understand is that times are difficult. We face peer pressure, stress, exhaustion, and feeling weak.
According to Dr. Rodney Harris, psychologist and Director of Operations at Universal Family Connection, Inc, everyone “needs to have a group of people they can go to in confidence and converse with, about their true thoughts and feelings.” If you’re someone who struggles with finding a balance at times, I’m talking to you for a minute. If you’re someone who feels burned out, exhausted, and just plain tired at times, I’m talking to you too. Here’s the thing, if you can identify with these things at all, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Stress is an everyday thing, whether it’s work, school, or your environment. As a teen, specifically males, often times I feel we aren’t vocal out of fear that our feelings will be belittled to that basic “Toughen up, life is hard” speech. Although stress can’t be eliminated, it can be managed. “Identify what your stressors are, develop a plan to figure out how you’re going to take care of yourself, reach out to others who you trust for support,” says Dr. Harris.
EMOTIONS RUN WILD
Emotions are very powerful, but never let them control you. We all have our rough days where we feel like everything is falling apart, but what matters is how you deal with that pain. Before reacting to your emotions, we must learn to pause and find clarity on what we are actually feeling. “Be able to be in a place where you can get it out. Jot some things down: What am I experiencing right now? What is my top emotion?,” says Dr. Harris. You have to look within and ask yourself, “Did I have a bad five minutes or a bad day?”
Often times, teens are struggling with mental health/illnesses and are unaware. We need to focus on self-care. It begins with focusing on you; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Whether it’s reading, drawing, or writing, take time out of your day to de-stress. According to Dr. Harris, “If you do not care for yourself, it impacts your ability to care for others. Focus on becoming your best self. It is never too late to create a sanctum for your mental well-being.”
SUPPORT YOURSELF, YOU COME FIRST
You are your #1 cheerleader. There are moments when you have to encourage yourself. Begin speaking things into existence like, “I WILL BE HAPPY.” Seek it, grab it, and claim it. I spent too many days worrying about nonsense, being sad about things I couldn’t change. “Reflect on what’s important to you and what you want to live for,” says Harris.
Click here to take this quiz and see if you’re a self-care master or could use some help mastering self-care!
By Tracy Beal, Junior, Thornton Fractional South