How To Back-To-School The RIGHT Way!
What does a successful school year look like to you?
It’s that time of year again…. school season is here!! I am so excited because that means I get to start speaking at schools all year long!! It gives me so much joy to come into schools and speak to teenagers. But, I also vividly remember that feeling of when I was a teen and summer was coming to a close and I could feel that looming pit in my stomach, just knowing that I had to get ready for a whole new school year. Then the cringey back-to-school commercials come on TV, almost signaling the whole world to start getting ready, like “Hey, It’s time to go to your local Target and spend five hours there with your teen”. I remember this feeling not too long ago. I graduated High School in 2014, and I remember the anxious feeling of having to get ready for the new school year like it was yesterday… having to buy new clothes, new classes, worrying about my GPA, not feeling good enough, comparing myself to other girls and being anxious about prepping for College ( as if that isn’t a huge transition already). From personal experience, I have created a list of my best tips on how to have a successful and happy school year! Whether you are a parent or a teen reading this, I am a firm believer that we should always put our mental, physical and emotional needs first before homework, sports or extracurricular activities. Below, I put together a list of my top 10 best tips for balancing life and taking care of yourself. HAVE AN AMAZING SCHOOL YEAR!! AND REMEMBER, you are BEAUTIFUL, SMART AND AMAZING JUST AS YOU ARE. Enjoy the journey and don’t forget to live in the present moment!! When you are a teenager, you are growing into yourself! Be loving and patient with yourself and don’t compare your life to anyone else! Whether you are a teenager or parent reading this, please remember to appreciate yourself and what makes you unique!
- Don’t compare yourself:Comparing is really the thief of joy. We all have different bodies, lives and passions. Social media can make it really easy to compare yourself to other people (yet we may not even know them in real life). Try spending time loving yourself and living in your present life, not someone else’s. All the likes, comments, followers, etc can make you feel like you have to keep up with the latest and greatest trends constantly- but that’s not true. Living a good life all starts with your thoughts, routines, habits and the effect you have on others.
- Set boundaries and time limits with social media/technology: I think setting time limits and having a schedule every day can really change your life. Focus on what activities and habits make YOU feel better. Always remember to not compare your life to other’s and that if you want to feel better, you have to put in the everyday work to see improvement. Don’t let the likes, comments and followers make you feel not good enough or anxious.
- Exercise daily/ practice self-care routines: Exercise is one of the best things you can do to soothe anxiety! I love to exercise every day in the morning. It helps set the tone for my day and allows me put myself first. It puts me in a great mood every time. Some of my best self-care routines are meditating, journaling my thoughts, hiking and just setting an hour before bed to wind down. It’s always good to put yourself first! I love dancing, running, hiking, barre, pilates and any type of movement. Exercise relieves stress and racing thoughts. I personally feel like the more you know yourself as a teen, the easier your life will be (through meditation, paying attention to how things feel in your body and journaling/reflecting).
- Getting enough sleep:Getting a good night’s sleep really sets the tone for your day. Getting about 8-9 hours every night will improve your mood, boost your immune system and promote a healthy lifestyle. Seriously, it’s not cool staying up till 3am every night texting or trying to cram in homework… get some sleep!! Getting a lot of sleep and going to bed at normal times really have so many long-term benefits. I typically go to bed at 9 p.m. and wake up at 6:45 a.m.
- Be kind and loving to yourself/your body/others:I think that when you truly love yourself, it sets up everything else for your life. You think about how things will benefit you and your wellbeing. You start making time for what feels right to you and brings you peace, joy and happiness. As a teen, your body is changing, the hormones and peer pressures can really feel like they are pulling you in multiple directions at once. But, just do what feels right to you and get to know yourself. Take at least one hour every day to be with yourself and see what you are feeling/thinking. Spend your energy on loving yourself and being kind to your body!
- Surround yourself with positive influences:Who you surround yourself with can really affect your mood and attitude. Surrounding yourself with people who have good energy and are positive really will change the way you view yourself and vice versa. Who you are will attract who you surround yourself with, so always be aware of how you talk to yourself and how you treat others. Make healthy choices! As a teen, there are a lot of peer pressures and trying to fit in, but make sure you put yourself first and do what feels right to you. Also know that being a teenager is such a tiny part of your life, have confidence to stay true to yourself and your beliefs.
- Do your best but also know that everyone has their own natural talents and abilities:For me, academics never clicked. I enjoyed being on stage, storytelling, helping others and giving advice to my friend group! I loved helping others and just being creative. I think as a teenager it’s important to do your best with getting good grades and putting in effort, but also be open to what your passions are.
- Enjoy the moment:Being a teenager goes by so fast and I really believe that staying present in the moment and enjoying the journey will benefit you! For me, my weight fluctuated and I had acne as well as neckgear/braces. Yes, it was uncomfortable but looking back, I wished I had spent more time enjoying the journey instead of wishing I was someone else or at a different point in my life.
- Stay healthy (mentally and physically):Things like getting enough sleep, loving yourself, taking time for what makes you happy, being active and staying positive/finding a creative outlet are guaranteed ways to stay healthy!
- Trust your gut feelings:Pay attention to how you feel when making choices or hanging around people.
If you feel anxious or that you are having chronic anxiety or depression- seek help! Therapy, EFT tapping, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, etc have really helped me!
Habits like reading, meditating, hiking and exercising daily have really made me feel more grounded and calm. When you are a teenager, a lot is going on and it can be tempting to want to keep up with everything and go to every party, football game, dance, sleepover, etc. But you should put yourself first! It’s important to establish daily routines that support a healthy and happy life.