Being in middle school today can be tough. Juggling obligations related to friends, family, school, and various extra-curricular activities may leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Try implementing some of the tips below into your daily routine. They will help you feel energized, in control, and most important of all, happy!
|Get Some Sun – Sunlight lifts your mood, so be sure to get a dose of
sunlight (10-15 minutes) every day. Get outside and play or just take a
walk and enjoy nature.
Do Something You Are Good at – What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.
Talk About Your Feelings – Talking with someone you trust (parent, teacher or coach) will help you deal with stress and cope when you feel angry, worried or sad.
Surround Yourself With People Who Care About You – Trusted friends and family make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever is going on inside your own head. They can help keep you grounded and solve practical problems. They also can help you stay active and have fun!
Exercise – Teens and pre-teens should get at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. Exercise produces endorphins, which are chemicals in your body that make you feel good. Try out for your favorite sport, keep up the dance lessons or take the dog for a brisk walk. Regular exercise helps you concentrate and sleep better, too.
Accept Who You Are – Some of us make people laugh, some are good at math, and others make fantastic home-made ice cream! We’re all different. Recognize your strengths, whatever they may be.
Set Goals For Your Future – Identify short-term goals (“I want to learn that new song on the guitar.”) or long-term goals (“I want to pursue a career as a chef.”) Goals help you stay focused on the things that really matter and will help you put day-to-day problems into perspective.
Sleep – Set a regular bed-time that allows for 9 hours of sleep before you have to get up for school. In addition, try to engage in 1 hour of “quiet time” before bed – turn off electronics and read a good book or listen to soothing music.
Practice Positive Self-Talk – The way we talk to ourselves (that voice inside of our head) has a huge impact on our outlook. Positive self-talk is any thought you think, or any speech you say to yourself, that uplifts your spirits and results in improvement (“I spent a lot of time working on my speech for the Student Council election – I’m prepared!”) It gives you greater confidence, and reduces anxiety and stress. It might not feel like it, but with practice, you can change your self-talk.
Take a Break – When you feel overwhelmed, stop what you are doing and take five. A change in scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a ten-minute pause from working on your language arts essay, dinner out with your family at a new restaurant, or a weekend visit with friends to your grandparent’s farm.
Build Coping Strategies – Effective coping skills allow you to overcome stress and feelings of anxiety. Try different strategies until you find the ones that work best for you, whether it’s progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, reading, exercise (such as riding your bike), journaling, yoga, art, listening to positive music, or hanging out with your best friend (or pet!)
Ask For Help – No one is superhuman. We all get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting to be too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask someone you trust for help. You never need to feel alone.
Eat Well – There are strong links between what you eat and how you feel (for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect, making you feel energized, but only temporarily.) Eating good food daily (like whole grains, fruits and veggies) and drinking lots of water can have a long-lasting, positive effect on your mood.
Do Something For Someone Else – Helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. Help a friend study for that Science test, or participate in the next service project at school or church. Doing for others brings balance to our lives, and also provides us with new learning experiences!
Brought to you by the Mountain View School Safety Team
Information obtained from the Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation Fact Sheet at: www.headspace.org.au