Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Helping Your Stressed-out Teen

School demands, sports commitments, body changes, confusing media messages. How can you help your kids manage life’s pressures as they hit the teen years – especially now at the end of the school year when exams and events pile up? Start by making sure the health basics are in place: good nutrition, solid sleep habits, and regular exercise. And don’t underestimate your teenager's need for downtime.By Mary Brophy Marcus, health writer, APA

These resources can help:
Nutrition: The USDA has a site for teens all about healthy eating with snack ideas, info on vitamins, weight and nutrition trackers, and more. There's nutrition advice for vegetarian teens and athletes, too.
Sleep: Teenagers need 8 - 10 hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). However, almost 70% of high school students aren't logging that much, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inadequate sleep can put them at risk for accidents, mood and behavior issues, and poor school performance. NSF shares tips like cutting out caffeinated sodas and setting a regular sleep routine.

Exercise and Relaxation
: Physical activity helps increase "feel-good" endorphins in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. To relax, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests practicing relaxation breathing and building a supportive circle of friends and family to cut stress, too.
If your tween or teen is still stressed and struggling, reach out to your child's doctor or a mental health professional who specializes in adolescents because a more serious health issue may be going on, such as depression or an anxiety disorder.

By Mary Brophy Marcus, health writer, APA

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