Navigating the Tough Teenage Years

It’s no secret: Being a teenager isn’t easy. As generations of teenagers can attest, the teen years come with plenty of personal, social, and academic challenges.

In some ways, things have gotten worse as time has gone by. Today’s high-tech world offers plenty of conveniences, but it also robs modern teens of privacy and surrounds them with distractions. In a world like this, the teenage years can be tough to navigate. But surviving and thriving during your teenage years isn’t impossible.

Protect Your Privacy

Social situations are some of the biggest sources of stress that teenagers have—and, today, nearly every situation is a social one. After all, most teens walk around with smartphones in their pockets. Those smartphones connect teens on social media, where oversharing and unhealthy comparisons can make teens feel vulnerable and depressed.

Making the most of the teenage years often means finding ways to use (or not use) social media in healthier ways so as to limit its unhealthy effects. Teens should be careful about how much time they spend on social media, who they connect and communicate with, and how much they share. Remember, not every photo or video needs to be shared! There are better and more private ways to save and store photos and other files.

Take cloud storage devices, for example. As reviews of Ibi and other cloud photo storage devices point out, these sorts of devices are great for protecting your photos while making them easy to share with only those who ought to have access to them. Choosing to keep vacation photos and videos of social hangouts in a private cloud instead of on social media can make a big difference in a teen’s self-image and mental health.

Settle On Your Priorities

The teenage years are also years of big decisions. Though there is plenty of time left to choose college majors and careers, this is the time that teens ought to start forming a sense of what direction their life ought to take and how they intend to live their dreams and their values. That can be a source of stress in and of itself, of course—few people (teens or not) feel that they’ve determined their exact purpose in life.

Teens can make progress by making smaller decisions. Daily choices that reflect responsibility and ethics can add up to big changes in the course of a teen’s life. It doesn’t take climbing a mountain to discover the secret of life—it just takes doing little things right every day until the bigger picture emerges.

Care For Your Body

One daily priority for teens should be health. Higher metabolisms make it easier for teens to hide unhealthy lifestyles, but make no mistake: Eating poorly and avoiding exercise is unhealthy at any age, no matter how much or how little weight it causes a person to put on.

With that in mind, teens should strive to eat right: A diet of whole foods, especially vegetables, is ideal. That may mean having to pack a lunch to school! Exercise is vital, too. Coming out for a sports team or practicing a sport outside of school as a hobby can make a huge difference.

Care For Your Mind

For teens and everyone else, caring for one’s mind is every bit as important as caring for one’s health. Teens should take special care with their mental health, given the high rates of teen depression and anxiety. Happily, many of the same things that help teenage bodies, such as eating well and exercising, can also help teenage minds.

Getting psychiatric or psychological treatment is important, too, explain experts at the Ross Center, which specializes in emotional disorders. Teens know that they should be heading to the doctor for regular check-ups and that they should let medical experts know about physical symptoms.

The same logic ought to apply to mental health: Teens should be checking in regularly with mental health professionals, and teens should move quickly to get professional help in dealing with mental health symptoms like feelings of anxiety and depression. Navigating the teenage years isn’t easy, but focusing on the right things—and getting the right kind of help—can make all the difference.

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Cecelia Greene is the Founder, Director and Editor at Big Green Gathering. She is a Portland-based wellness expert, award-winning writer, designer, and influencer. She was trained as an artist while studying in Prague through a cohort program with UCLA. She then moved to Tulum, Mexico where she still spends half of her time as a yoga and meditation instructor. She has over a decade of experience working in all areas of wellness, fitness, environmental causes, and design.

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