Finding and making new friends in a lonely worldHow do you find and make new friends in a world that seems so vast and lonely? It may feel counterproductive but consider going online as a first step. Here you can join the group chats or message boards that the other teens frequent at school. Perhaps the chess club is active on social media between meeting for in-person games? It could be that there is a book club you could join and spend time discussing books with like-minded teens. You may even find more information about the tennis club or cheering. Most teens today use online tools to communicate, which can be frustrating when trying to figure out who at school could be approachable for starting a conversation. Immerse yourself in these online tools when you find the peer and activity groups that could be a good option for you. It’s always hard to be the new person in a group but remember that those newbie days end fast as you build on new friendships. Here are a few ideas for other places where you may find new like-minded teens to hang out with:
- Volunteering opportunities, perhaps at the library or animal shelter.
- Adventure activity clubs or camps during the summer months.
- Get a job that allows you to work around other teens. A great option is a youth center or a local pool as a lifeguard.
- Clubs that could include chess club, tennis club, running, hiking, or photography are great options. You could start one up if there isn’t one at your school or neighborhood.
Learning to love and appreciate yourselfDo you struggle with anxiety? It could be that your self-esteem is not always at its highest possible levels. This is nothing to worry about and nothing to feel ashamed of. We all go through these phases, each of us. The key is to learn to love yourself for who you are and appreciate yourself for everything you can offer. How can you do this? If it were as easy as flicking a switch, we’d all do it. Here are a few tips for beginning to work on your confidence levels as you learn to love who you are:
- Consider peer counseling or individual counseling outside of school. Counseling can help you to connect with yourself and can help you to work through some of your struggles.
- Can you identify your insecurities? We’ve all got them but identifying them and even jotting them down can help to give you a starting point for addressing them. Does your hair bother you? Do you hate your smile? While most of us struggle with insecurities about how we look, it’s important to learn that our exterior does not define us. We are defined by who we are and how we treat others. That said, learning to work through and address your insecurities can help to give you a much-needed confidence boost.
- Are you your harshest critic? Many of us tend to be. Criticizing yourself or comparing yourself to others is never a good idea. Remember that we are all different, and embracing the things that make us different is essential.
- Forgive yourself if you’re blaming yourself for things in the past. These things will continue to haunt you and leave you feeling down about yourself unless you let them go.
- Just as you identified your insecurities, take the time to remember the things you love, appreciate, and admire about yourself.
- Speak to those who know you the best. This could be your best friend who lives across the state now, your mom, your sister, or your cheer coach. Ask them what they think are your best attributes. This can help boost your confidence levels and give you a starting point for things you can build on .
Fighting the day-to-day stress of being a teenBeing a teen today is stressful. There is no doubt about that. Today’s teens are inundated with more stressors and negative influences than ever before. How can you fight the stress that you experience daily? We’ve got a few tips:
- Sleep well. There is no replacement for a good night of rest. Sleep plays a crucial role in your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Limit screen use at least an hour before bed and take the time to wind down.
- Get your body moving. Even a short walk can help to reset your mindset if you’re struggling. If you enjoy running, playing tennis, and other sports, then take the time to make them a part of your day and week. Physical activity is an essential part of relieving stress for all ages.
- Find a balance between playtime and downtime. Some of us need to have fun and let loose after a stressful week. While others may need at least a few hours of quiet reflection to decompress and let go of the stress. Find your balance.
- Get outdoors and enjoy nature. Whether you sit in the backyard with a cold drink and a book, or go for a hike with your family, the important thing is to be outdoors and appreciate a break from the stress factors in your life.
- Journal, write, and create music. Creativity is a wonderful release for your stress.
- Learn mindfulness. Teens who learn mindfulness and learn how to practice it tend to have significantly lower levels of mental distress.