New Year’s Resolutions for Youth Mental Health
As many adults make New Year’s resolutions, it’s a good opportunity to talk to your teen about setting and sticking to good habits.
New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition that help people start their year off right. Some experts believe New Year’s resolutions are also a great way to take care of your mental health.
Parents and caregivers can help their teen start the New Year mentally well by encouraging them to identify and establish healthy habits:
Practice Gratitude – When times are tough, being grateful can be a challenge. Encouraging your youth to appreciate the simple moments of joy or goodness in their lives can build positive emotions and even boost their immune system. Expressing gratitude can also have lasting, positive effects on their mental health.
Commit to physical health – Mental and physical health are linked, so getting enough sleep and engaging in some form of exercise, such as a walk around the block, can improve mood and well-being. Help your teen set a realistic goal of getting to bed earlier and going on a 15-minute walk, to start.
Take a break from social media –Many teens turn to social media as a way to stay connected. While social media may be a good way to keep in touch with others, it can also have negative effects; numerous studies show that higher levels of social media use among adolescents are linked to adverse effects including depression, anxiety, inadequate sleep and low self-esteem.
Talk with your teen about taking the time he or she spends on social media and invest it in real conversations and experiences with peers, classmates, family members or neighbors. They are certain to feel more fulfilled having a FaceTime call with a friend or spending quality time with family than hours of scrolling through other people’s social media feed.
Practice self-compassion – Encourage your teen to take care of himself or herself, including taking personal time to do something they love such as drawing or listening to music. Being kind to yourself also involves practicing positive self-talk, embracing imperfection and celebrating personal achievements and accomplishments.
Stay mindful and in the moment – We are used to being busy, so sometimes the lack of that can be unfamiliar or even uncomfortable. Slowing down can remind us to live in the here and now, allowing us to notice beauty in things we didn’t see before. For teens it can be as simple as watching their pet or looking at a view of nature that can bring them into the present moment again.
However you and your teen arrive at New Year’s resolutions, the important thing is that you are doing it together.
World Health Organization: Mental health of adolescents (who.int)
Youth.gov: Mental Health Promotion and Prevention | Youth.gov
National Institutes of Health: Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers – NIDDK (nih.gov)
About Camino a Casa
Casa Pacifica is the largest non-profit provider of children’s and adolescent mental health services in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The agency’s Camino a Casa program, available to clients with private insurance, provides behavioral health care to youth ages 12-17 who struggle with emotional dysregulation and high-risk behaviors that jeopardize their safety at home, school and/or community.
Intensive short-term residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and in-home behavioral health services comprise Camino a Casa’s full continuum of adolescent mental health care.
Learn more at www.caminoacasa.org