Building Wellness

Posted by The MindScape Team on 8/3/2022

Building Wellness

Adolescence is when children tend to start exercising their independence from their parents, and parents tend to grant their teen more autonomy to make decisions. Research suggests that teens don’t always make the best choices when it comes to healthy habits. Like many things in life, the path to wellness is not accomplished in one big leap. There are, however, several small steps adolescents can take every day to balance their physical and mental health. When your teen’s mental health seems unbalanced, it’s time to revisit the basic three tenets of wellness; sleep, nutrition, and exercise. These building blocks influence each other and directly impact a teens well-being.  

Get Your ZZZZs: Doctors recommend that adolescents sleep 9– to 9½–hours per night to be at their best. However, research shows that most teens get somewhere between 7– to 7¼–hours per night, leaving them in a deficit zone. When teens don’t get enough sleep, they often struggle to wake up, can be irritable or moody, and have trouble concentrating during the school day. Educate your teen on the importance of sufficient sleep and help them understand that endlessly scrolling on their phones is not a healthy way to fall asleep. Share with them some mindfulness apps like Sleep Cycle, SleepScore, or SleepWatch, which contain sleep segments. Help them understand that sleep is one of the most important building blocks to their health and well-being.  

Good Eats: Eating healthy is another important step in the wellness journey and goes hand in hand with healthy sleep. Does your teen skip breakfast? Do they avoid planning meals and make poor food choices? Do they skip lunch and eat when they get home? Teens can be guilty of all these unhealthy eating habits. Studies show that to keep our brain and body in peak performance, we need the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When teens skip meals, or make poor food choices, they are prone to mood swings, irritability, and have difficulty focusing. It’s time to educate your teens on the importances of nutrition and help them work healthy eating patterns into their day. 

Get Up & Go: The final wellness building block is exercise. Physical activity is associated with a wide range of benefits, including improved mental health. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, which are the “feel-good” chemicals that help improve our state of mind and reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Talk to your teen about their exercise habits and encourage them to get outside and move, join one of our sports teams or a local gym, take a yoga class, or work with our athletic trainer and use the fitness room after school. Better yet, join your teen on their exercise journey. It’s a great way to spend quality time together while modeling a healthy lifestyle. Encouraging your teen to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives empowers them and gives them a strong foundation for adulthood.