Daily Habits for Teens to Start in the New Year
A few years ago, I asked for a Fitbit for my birthday. I’d stopped exercising during a particularly stressful year. And, no surprise, I gained weight and my stress level rose. So, I decided to change my habits.
I started tracking my steps with the Fitbit, hoping to reach 10,000 steps a day. While I wanted that to happen overnight, it didn’t. Because nothing does. And, well change is hard.
Instead, it took me weeks to get to that threshold. I learned to go the long way to the main office, take a walk during my planning period, and found a new appreciation for big box stores. Now, I hit that step goal every day!
The same goes for you. When people want to improve their lives, they often go in full force, but quickly burn out. Instead, they should take one step at a time.
Today, I have some suggestions for new daily habits to work into your life. Some of these changes are big, but most are small ways to adjust your day. In the end, you will be more organized, less stressed, and happier.
If you’re the type of person who jumps in feet first, start them all tomorrow. For the rest of you, pick one or two to start tomorrow and then slowly add them over time.
Daily Habits for Teens
We all need sleep, but teens need sleep even more. School starts too early for the teen sleep cycle, so most teens go through life in a perpetual haze.
Sleep is important to learning! Your brain processes all the information you learned during the day and moves it to long-term memory. Scientists now believe that the brain cleans itself out during sleep, as well.
While you can’t control when school starts, you can try to minimize the damage. Create a bedtime and stick to it. Limit the use of screens before bed. Keep your phone away from your bed, preferably in another room. If your phone is your alarm, it’s time to invest in an actual alarm clock. You can get one for less than $10 at Target or Wal-Mart.
You know that exercise is good for the body. But did you know that exercise is also good for the mind? According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise can improve memory and thinking skills. In other words, exercise can make you a better student. Movement can also reduce stress and improve your mental health. So many benefits!
Schedule regular exercise in your daily routine. It’s doesn’t have to be hours, either. Fifteen minutes here and 20 minutes there add up. Park farther away, so you have to walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
While I enjoy some alone time, have a workout buddy or taking a fun class are both ways to work out AND hang out with other people at the same time.
Limit screen time
I admit that I spend some serious time with my smartphone, but nothing like my students. Unfortunately, new research is showing dangerous connections between teen screen time and mental health problems. One study found that teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely to suffer from depression and to seriously consider suicide. Other studies have linked lower self-esteem and happiness to increased screen time.
Both Android and Apple phones have a screentime feature that will track your daily usage. There are also apps, though, that will send you notifications about your usage. The hardcore ones will even shut down your access to certain apps after a predetermined amount of time.
Also, there are some easy fixes to keep yourself from looking through your phone too much. Get rid of most notifications, especially from social media apps. That’s one of the ways the apps keep reeling you back in – through notifications. I have more ideas here!
Use a planner
I talk about this ALL the time, but planner use is the best and fastest way to get control of your time. If you are often late or forget assignments, you don’t have an accurate picture of your time. We would all love to remember everything. But we just can’t. That’s why planners were invented.
Find a planner you use – check out my post here for suggestions – and set it up pronto. Using a planner regularly will let you track assignments, record commitments, and visually “see” your time. When you are aware of your available time, you can plan better and get stuff done.