Ways to Help Your Teen Develop Mental Health Habits and Support
While bringing up the subject of mental health may feel awkward, the more you make an effort, the more natural it feels. Keep communication constant, open and honest. If you have a history like I did, be open about it with your teens. Help them develop healthy habits too. Of course, it’s best to set the example but you can also create healthy habits together. Here are the following tips to help your teen set healthy habits:
- Step away from the screens.
- Getting outside and spending time in nature is important for mental health. Help your teen develop a strategy to step away from the iPhone, computer, television, etc. Encourage them to spend time with friends and family outdoors.
- Take care of their spirit.
- Encourage them to develop healthy spiritual habits of being in the Word every day. Whether it’s a Bible App, a devotion, a plan to read through the Bible in a year or reading topical studies about anxiety, ensure they carve out time with God. Other ideas could be using the S.O.A.P. method to study God’s word or get a journaling Bible. Consider doing something together.
- Take care of their physical body.
- Encourage your teen to create a routine of rest and exercise. Sleep and exercise are vital to anyone’s mental health. Encourage to them to treat their body with care.
- Look for one person besides their parents they can trust.
- Build a network of support.
- Ask your teen if she has a safety plan. A safety plan consists of knowing she has another adult she can talk to if she feels depressed or suicidal. Does she have additional friends, teachers or a counselor she can talk to? Is there someone she can pray with? Remind her communication and support go a long way in keeping her safe and healthy.
- Find ways to manage stress.
- Too much screen time, social media, work, schoolwork and responsibilities can overwhelm a teen. Encourage them to find ways to relieve stress. It could be joining a sports team, journaling, deep breathing, etc.
The courage to start this conversation with your teen will reap fruits of hope and peace for their entire lives!
Heather Riggleman calls Nebraska home (Hey, it’s not for everyone). She writes to bring through bold truths and raw faith about marriage, career, mental health, depression, faith, relationships, celebration and heartache. Heather is a former national award-winning journalist and is the author of Mama Needs a Time Out and Let’s Talk About Prayer. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com.
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