Amba Brown is the author of Finding Your Path, a self-help guide for school leavers figuring out what to do with their lives.
I remember it like yesterday: the excitement of eating a Twix bar for dinner, just because I could.
After all, I was an adult and these decisions were mine.
But it didn’t take long to realise that chocolate bars for dinner didn’t equal wellness. That while it feels exciting to be independent and make our own choices, this also comes with the responsibility to make the best choices we can for ourselves.
Being a teenager is trickier than it looks. These are the years that we go from being a kid that’s told what to do, what to eat and how to act, to an adult that’s expected to know all of this for themselves. It’s when we start to learn and decipher the many dos and don’ts out there. With the near endless advice surrounding food, exercise, passions and self-discovery, we begin to form habits on how we should best take care of ourselves.
So, what do we need to know to create a happy teenage life? Here are my 5 top tips for finding wellness in high school.
1. You are what you eat
Eat well – feel well. It’s that simple. Know that balance is by far the best rule you’ll find in any diet book. Ensure that this means you’re getting all your food groups in a day and that treats are kept to being treats.
2. Exercise for weight loss wellness
When we exercise to feel good, not to loose weight, we shift the focus to a positive. With a healthy exercise regime, as little as 20 minutes a day, the outcome will be you’ll feel happier. The by-product is that your body will then find a healthy weight. This approach also helps you to develop a balanced and healthy relationship with exercise that will last the long run.
3. Find a hobby
Hobbies are activities that we do in our downtime. They are the silent clues to getting to know who you are and what you like. So many people struggle to answer the question, “What are your passions?” If this is you – start to explore different pastimes and see what sticks. Perhaps you enjoy taking photos or playing music, watching documentaries or building objects. Find what makes you happy and do more of it.
4. Use your words
Communication is one of the most important skills we learn as an adult. We can’t expect that people are able to read our minds or know how we feel. Speak your truth – clearly and respectfully. It’s also important to create relationships with friends or family members that you can speak with honestly and share how you’re feeling. You know what they say, “sharing a problem is halving it”. The other side of communication is listening. Give others the space to talk and treat them with the same attention you expect.
5. Respect yourself
Above all, respect yourself. At the end of the day the friendship and care that you give yourself is the most important. You are the one person you’ll always have. If you love and care for yourself, you’ll bring the best of you into the world. Note that this does not mean that you only care about you or that you think you’re the best. It means that you treat yourself in the same way you treat others that you love: with kindness, attention, love and support.