Getting the proper rest: Limit screen time by placing phones and computers in a separate room at a designated time, minimize stimulating activities before bed, and establish a sleep routine to ensure 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Keeping a journal to prevent recurring thoughts can alleviate stress triggers.
Eat healthy with a balanced diet: Teens with healthy diets are ½ as likely to develop depression compared to those with diets high in processed foods. Diet is linked to the hippocampus, a key area of the brain involved in learning, memory, and mental health and people with healthy diets have more hippocampal volume than those with unhealthy diets. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed may aid with studying and concentration, Vitamin B Complex found in fish, beans, milk, and dairy is known to stabilize the mood system and Vitamin C found in many fruits and vegetables can counteract effects of stress in teens.
Exercise: Making physical activity routine minimizes the occurrence of depression, panic disorder, and phobias in teens. It is recommended that teens exercise moderately to vigorously for 60-minutes on average each day with vigorous exercise recommended three days per week. Walking or running outside to increase Vitamin D and levels of serotonin in the brain are ways to ensure your body and mind stay healthy.
Practice relaxation and mindfulness: Breathing techniques and focusing attention on the here and now can be used to reduce anxiety, stress and depression.
Let others help: Talking to a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult about feelings, or letting a close friend know how you are feeling, can alleviate stress. The StarVista Crisis Hotline is an available resource 24-hours a day seven days a week for crisis intervention.
Focus on your strengths and helping others: Using individual strengths to make positive changes in schools and the community, especially through awareness and advocacy of mental health issues and wellness, helps empower others and keeps stressors in perspective.