Tips on Healthy Habits for Teenagers

Being a teenager – whether you are going through A Levels, GCSEs or any set of challenges – can be incredibly difficult. Throughout this blog, I will try to offer some tips on healthy habits that could aid many in the face of difficulty to improve their overall wellbeing.

Today, people who do not have a mobile phone are a decreasing minority. These small devices are becoming a dominating force in all users’ lives, facilitating their every need. However, they also have their implications. Daily stresses are exacerbated by the constant distraction and attraction of iPhones which are always at your disposal and offer a short break, distracting you and stopping your concentration. Phones offer a release, or transport into another dimension where the daily problems troubling you momentarily disappear. To take your mind off things there are amusing videos to mindlessly scroll through, the ability to talk to a multitude of different people anywhere at once, and stories from all over the world to look into.

With all these outlets of endless possibilities, it is almost impossible to resist the urge to turn on your phone. Through this, 5 minutes becomes 30, and 30 becomes an hour. We lose all concept of time as we are transported into this new world of unending and intriguing opportunities. It is estimated that Americans, on average, spend 2 hours and 54 minutes on their phones each day. While this might seem rather trivial, it amounts to nearly a month and a half (44 days) on their phones in 2022. Suddenly those few hours every day, become a rather big chunk of your life lost.

Another current issue that becomes ever more prominent with the increasing usage of phones is those who misuse it. The main benefit of using mobile phones is that they make the mode of communication easier and cheaper. For this reason, an estimated 91.5% of the total global population owns a smart phone. This astonishing number facilitates communication between people from all over the world. This played an increasingly crucial role during the pandemic in recent years when communication as we know it was impeded by rigorous social distancing measures. At this time of physical isolation, communication through smart phones was vital in keeping people connected.

To conclude, smart phones act as a vital resource of information, communication, and entertainment. However, there are drawbacks such as constant distractions and the loss of valuable time. Thus, a top tip of mine is to try to limit your usage of screen time overall. Through setting limits, you can make use of the advantages of using your phone yet not get so affected by the negative side effects.

A key habit that is often overlooked and hard to implement is getting a good amount of sleep. Sleep has a multitude of positive benefits including reducing stress and brain function, both of which are vital, especially during exam periods. It is recommended that teenagers aged 13-18 years should sleep 8-10 hours a night. While it is often tempting to procrastinate all day and complete last-minute work late in the evening, the time taken away from your sleep can be incredibly harmful to your overall wellbeing. Some students do find they focus and are more productive in the evening, but setting a bed time and sticking to it will be very beneficial in aiding you to concentrate and succeed – more so than if you stayed up late cramming. However, lots of the time it’s not as easy as just not procrastinating and setting a bed time; the issue of falling asleep is incredibly challenging for some. When one is trying to fall asleep it is normal to be kept awake by concerns about school, friends, health which keep your mind active at night, making falling asleep a challenge. While there is no simple solution, it is important to recognise that you’re not alone in this, with a reported 27% of people surveyed admitting they find falling asleep a very arduous task. However, ways to overcome this include practising relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, avoiding long naps during the day, and not going on a screen near the time you fall asleep. These three tips will aid you in making the most of the time you have to sleep, whether this is only 7 hours on the night before an exam or more.

Another key tip to improve your overall wellbeing is through maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. In this sense, a diet does not concern restricting oneself for outcomes such as losing weight, rather it refers to the kind of food you habitually eat. A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, some meats, wheat, and milk products. However, a healthy diet is not balanced without sugar. While limiting sugar intake is incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and immunity, it is still healthy to take in moderation. All foods are healthy in moderation and through creating balance one can enjoy a varied but nutritious diet. Beneficial foods during exam periods include berries which are a good snack and are rich in a variety of compounds that help promote academic performance and brain health. Furthermore, fish such as salmon includes a fatty acid known as Omega-3 which is highly beneficial to the brain as it allows us to retain new information, while still remembering old information and improving our memory. Through properly nourishing yourself with nutritious food you have the ability to bolster your academic capability and overall health.

By Celeste, (LVI)