Take a moment and ask yourself where you’re at on a stress scale, like low stress, some stress, lots of stress, or high stress. Think about it. Now, do you know how long you’ve been at this stress level, like starting today, or going on for a few days/weeks/months? Also, has your stress been connected to one thing in particular, multiple ongoing things, or a series of events one after the other?
We’re almost done with this stress reflection. Last question: what are you doing to manage your stress? Is anything specific helping or are you pushing through it hoping it’ll get better?
Studies show that your age group –Gen Z– is facing more stressors than any other age group. You may be worried about your family (conflicts, health, money), struggles with friends, school or grades, being the best in your sport or skill. Or you may feel pressured to be perfect or “do it all,” or have persistent FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
Personally, I’ve been in high stress mode for a while. Zero stars, do not recommend. I’ve had multiple ongoing stressful things and a series of events. I’m doing a few things to manage my stress, and I want to talk about them and other forms of something called Self Care.
Why Self Care matters
Have you heard of Self Care? It’s great! Five stars, I highly recommend it! Simply put, Self Care is taking care of yourself! It’s whatever helps you be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
So why is Self Care so important? Well, while you may have people in your life who care for you and about you (family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.), ultimately, you are the only person who really knows how you are doing, how you’re holding up, how you’re handling your life.
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, or in your case, your phone won’t work if the battery’s dead. You need to do things that refill you and recharge you. Self care should be constant –you don’t have to wait until you’re burned out to take care of yourself.
Self Care Tools
Last April I talked about managing stress in episode 015. I suggested you Breathe, Focus on what you Can Control, Slow down, Eat mindfully, Move your body, Make a list, Get enough sleep.
Those are all still great ways to manage your stress, and I recommend you listen to that episode for more on those tools.
Right now, I want to share specific forms of Self Care that have helped me.
spend time with yourself
I’d say my most effective form of Self Care is taking a moment to be present with myself–away from noise, distractions, devices. Stimuli are everywhere, so I need a few minutes every day to be still, to check in with myself, to be able to hear myself think, to think about nothing, even. Sometimes I use that time to practice mindfulness or meditation, I’ll journal, I’ll soak in a bath, and sometimes I’ll simply do nothing. And it is really nice to just spend time with me. You should try it for yourself.
Another form of Self Care I recommend is Play. Play is not just for little kids! Play is a great way to connect with others, be silly, and release stress. Play for the sake of fun, not to compete. I love to play board and card games with my family or play outside together, like kickball and volleyball with friends.
Create. what’s something you like to do that you could spend all day and not get bored or time flies when you’re doing it? Make art, music, writing, coding, gardening, design.
Finally nature. Even if you live in the city, go to a park, duck pond, garden, or star gaze at night. Or see if you can get away, even just outside of town. Head to the beach, the mountains, the desert, the lake. When you’re there, take a picture but then put your phone away for a few minutes. Be present in nature and soak it all in.
To help you remember all of this, I created a “Self Care” poster that you can print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part.
If you have favorites to add to this list, or have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to [email protected] .
And if you have social media already, follow me on Insta or tiktok @empowerfulgirls. I’m not encouraging or endorsing social media, but I’m on there to offer an unfiltered, uplifting alternative to what’s in your feed.
Also, if you enjoy listening to 10 for Teens + Tweens, I would truly appreciate you telling your friends about this podcast or leaving a review so others can find it and feel uplifted, too! Your support means the world to me!