By: Rachel Bryant, RN
What is one of your most prized possessions? Maybe your phone? Your gaming system? Your favorite sweater that looks so cute on you? If you have something that is important to you, you take care of it, don’t you? Well, in that same thought, YOU are important! Because of that, you should take care of yourself. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what that actually means though. You get all kinds of advice from the internet, your friends, etc. So, what’s girl to do? Let’s go back to the basics.
Here are 5 basic health tips (that although we know, we sometimes struggle to actually do):
#1: Get the proper amount of sleep! This may seem boring, but it’s number one because it is sooo important. Your body, especially as a teenager, needs lots of sleep. Sleep is important to help your body and brain grow and develop. Sleep helps your body recover from all the busyness of your school day, afterschool programs, homework, part-time job, and all your other activities. Even though you enjoy staying up talking to your friends or binging social media videos, your body needs time to relax and de-stress. Sleep is great for this! Finally, sleep helps your body fight off all those germs you are exposed to daily so you can avoid being sick.
#2: Eat right! Now I love pizza, chips, French fries, and ice cream as much as the next girl, but those need to be special snacks on occasion and not your everyday menu. Make sure you are getting the right amount of calories (not too many, not too little) but work on spreading those out between carbs, proteins, vegetables, fruits, and then the occasional sweet treat. In addition to eating the right things, it is important to hydrate! Now I know you love your iced coffee or your sweet tea, but you need to drink water for hydration. Water is not only good for hydration; it is good for your kidney function, aids in digestion, is good for your skin, and the list goes on and on. You can have that iced coffee in the morning to get you going or in the afternoon as a pick-me-up, but then water is your best friend!
#3: Exercise! This may seem obvious that exercise is important to your health. We all know that exercising is good for healthy weight management and building muscle, but it has several other benefits as well. Exercise is great for the mind – it gives you time to think through things, get some clarity away from the busyness of life, and basically increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Exercise also helps you relax and makes you feel good. I know sometimes it does not seem like it feels good, but exercise causes your body to release endorphins and endorphins make you feel good.
#4: Limit screen time and social media! This one is more geared toward your mental health, but still so important. Pull yourself away from the screen (game, tv, movies, laptop, etc.) and get outside, play a board game, talk to people, go for a walk (see #3), learn a new skill, or clean your room (it probably needs it). Limiting social media allows you to be present in the world around you. This can help you get some perspective on things. Remember what you see online may not be accurate or even true but getting out and seeing things and talking to people for yourself can really help ground you. It also helps you grow and develop skills you need for life.
#5: Wait! We know the Bible tells us that sex is supposed to be between a man and woman in the covenant of marriage. However, sometimes we forget God has good reasons for telling us to wait. He knows it is the healthy thing for us. Sex outside of marriage can create mental health struggles like feelings of inadequacy, hurt feelings, loneliness, shame, or regret. Physically, it is not healthy to have multiple sexual partners. This puts you at risk for infections, cancer, and unplanned pregnancy (no matter what you think you are doing to avoid those things). This includes all kinds of sexual behaviors! Practice self-control and demand it from others.
Bonus: Spend time with God!! This tip for spiritual health is the most important tip I can give you. No matter what else you do, your spiritual health is paramount! Make a priority of reading your Bible everyday – the more you read it, the more it sinks in. Hiding God’s Word in your heart can help you in lots of situations you encounter. When something happens or you’re struggling with something, He can bring a verse or story to your mind to help you deal with it. You should also make every effort to attend church on Sunday mornings so you can hear the Word of God preached. Sometimes it is hard on your own to read and then understand the Bible but listening to a preacher who has studied the Word can help with that. Finally, spend time with Christian friends. In has been proven, you become like those that you hang out with. Make sure your friends are helping you grow closer to God and not pulling you away.