Updated: Jan 31, 2022
“I have many friends but no real friends.”
“I have many people who care about me, but I don’t care about them.”
“I’m fine as long as I have my laptop.”
These are all examples of what students often describe as their private struggles with depression and anxiety. According to the Healthy Minds Network, one in two students has reported feeling depressed or anxious during the past year alone. Most of these students think that it’s their own fault that they’re suffering from these mood disorders and that it will eventually get better on its own. Stress is a big part of today’s world, especially for young people, whether they're a university student or a child still in middle or high school. They all have to deal with quite a lot of pressure today.
Fortunately, there are ways to help youth take care of their mental health. Psychological health can be improved with healthy habits, like spending time with friends and family, exercising regularly, and making time for fun. The most effective ways to improve mental and emotional well-being are by pursuing avenues of self-care.
Self-care can be as simple as finding time to take a deep breath or doing something that brings joy; while other times, self-care may be finding ways to lighten one's load, and asking for help when needed. There are many online self-help resources available today, and some of them are as easy as finding math homework help to make your student's study load easier and give them more time to take care of their well-being. Tell your children not to hesitate using help resources available, because sometimes it’s OK to put yourself first!
How Can Young People Take Better Care of Themselves?
Students often experience a lot of anxiety and stress from courses, exams, and the general expectations of school life. Even when things feel overwhelming and impossible, tell them to never lose hope! It is always possible to change their situation for the better. If they are struggling with anxiety or depression, here are some tips to share:
It doesn’t matter how old you are—exercise is an easy way to feel better for everyone. It’s been known to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension. Think about helping your child find a sport that might enjoy—swimming, running, cycling, tennis—and encourage them to exercise for at least an hour every couple of days. Even something as simple as a walk around the block can help them feel more grounded. Exercise is a great way to give themselves a chance to relax and calm down after a long day of classes.
Eating healthy food can help boost your child's mood and decrease their overall appetite. Eating healthy food helps their body function properly and allows them to have better concentration while performing academic tasks or exercising. Choose foods that are low in sugar and high in protein, and have them drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rejuvenated.
Form New Friendships
School is a time of much learning and changing, both academically and emotionally. Because of this exciting, tumultuous period, they’ll likely be developing or re-developing many friendships and relationships. This change can cause anxiety for some youth, but there are ways you can help them ease into this transition. After all, new friends can offer support! Encourage your kids to seek out like-minded people by striking up conversations in their classes, joining teams or clubs, or even going to office hours to pick the minds of their teachers. There are a lot of new and interesting people to meet on a campus, be sure they take advantage!
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals
It’s best for your kids to set realistic goals for themselves, especially when they reach high school and college. When students don’t have a clear idea about what they want to do in a few years, they can get discouraged and end up dropping out. Setting goals that are too ambitious can lead to depression and anxiety, making it tough for them to succeed at school or in the workplace.
Help your kids identify their interests and skills and then determine which areas of study will help them get there. For example, they may know that they want to be an entrepreneur or work in the medical field. If so, encourage them to study business or science-related subjects to prepare for their future. That way, they’ll feel motivated to continue their studies.
Get Plenty of Sleep
The number one rule of a healthy life is to get enough sleep. Not only does this help maintain energy and focus, but it also makes young people more productive and gives them the brain power to make good decisions.
Sleep is particularly important for students. The average high school student sleeps about six hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But for college students, that number drops to five hours on average. Those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have negative moods and perform worse in their classes.
If your kids are having trouble getting enough sleep, don’t worry. The best way for them to improve their sleep is through simple changes, like figuring out the best time to go to bed and wake up. They can also use white noise or music as a way to help mask unwanted sounds at night.
Study Often, But Remember to Take Breaks
Taking frequent breaks from studying is very important. In fact, some people believe that students should study in small increments throughout the day instead of cramming everything into one session. If students take short breaks every hour or so, they will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time and retain more information throughout the day.
Schedule in fun things for them to do with their friends at least twice a week. This will keep you and them sane and allow young people to enjoy their school years fully.
Right now, it’s essential for young people to know that they not alone and that there are things they can do to cope with the stressors they face, whether they are academic or social. Feel free to use this guide whenever you deem it necessary to help your children make positive changes in their everyday life and well-being. And don’t shy away from asking for help when you need it too!