A to Zen for teens: 26 ways to help your teen find more peace
By Sue LeBreton
Does your teen seem more frazzled and stressed than usual? Remember, they have a lot to manage with school, activities, social media, changing bodies and pressure from many directions. Like the rest of us, teens can benefit from more calm in their lives but because of where they are developmentally they may not be able to see that they need this. They may also lack the ability to reduce their own stress. Follow these tips below to help your teen find some Zen state of mind.
1. Acne is a fact of life for many teens. Try not to comment on the latest crop of pimples. Offer to get them some cleansers and creams. If their complexion is a considerable issue take them to see a doctor.
2. Take a deep Breath. Teach your teen to take a deep breath before they respond to an emotional comment. Practice this yourself, at home and at work.
3. Cash is something teens desire and many start part-time jobs. The responsibility is good but ensure that the hours your teen is working are not adding too much stress.
4. Let their Door be the boundary to their private space and ask before you enter their bedroom. Close the door if their mess stirs you up. Note if this decreases conflict between you.
5. Stop all Electronics 30-60 minutes before bed. Light from screens impact sleep and teens need sleep more than late night texts.
6. Try a Facebook fast. Encourage your teen to fast from all social media, even if only for a day. Talk to them about how it made them feel.
7. Teach Gratitude. Give your teen a gratitude journal so that they can focus on something positive daily. If they are not a writer, do a daily “what I’m grateful for” with everyone at the dinner table.
8. Hugs are important for teens even if they claim not to want or need them. Try to squeeze them in when you greet your teen in the morning, after work and at bedtime. Just maybe not in front of friends.
9. Inspirational reading can offer teens comfort from daily stressors. Share material that has inspired you and perhaps your teen will reciprocate.
10. Learn Juggling. It relieves stress, boosts coordination and increases focus. Maybe you can join in to share the benefits and a laugh.
11. Model Kindness. Show teens how to treat themselves as they would treat their best friend. Praise them when you see them acting kindly to others or themselves.
12. Listen to your teen without interrupting or offering advice.
13. Music is a wonderful way for your teen to unwind. Be receptive to their music choices. If it is too much for you, suggest earphones.
14. Say No. Help your teen say no so that they learn how to set boundaries and do not overcommit.
15. Get them Outside. Interacting with nature is good for the body, mind and spirit. It is becoming rare, creating a phenomenon called nature-deficit disorder, coined by Richard Louv in his book “No Child Left Inside.”
16. Pets help relieve stress so encourage your teen to interact with any pets you have. If you do not have pets, can your teen interact with someone else’s pet, say as a dog walker? How about volunteering at the local animal shelter?
17. Is there any Quiet time in your teen’s life? Help your teen schedule down time. Think reading, a nap or a serene space that provides respite for the senses in a teen’s otherwise stimulating world.
18. Reduce caffeine and sugar consumption and teens will likely notice a more consistent level of energy and less agitation in their day.
19. Make sure your teen Sweats regularly for their physical and mental health.
20. Trust your teen with a new responsibility. What is the next logical step they are ready for? A later curfew?
21. Help teens manage Unrealistic expectations so their lives do not become overloaded or their self-esteem deflated.
22. Encourage Volunteering. It will look good on their college applications and it is a wonderful way to step outside this naturally, narcissistic phase. It is also good for their immune system.
23. Increase Water consumption. A hydrated body has more energy and simply works better, so encourage teens to up their intake of water instead of other beverages.
24. What makes your teen eXtra special? Celebrate and praise their talents often so that they recognize their uniqueness.
25. Find a teen Yoga class. There is a style to suit every personality and the mind body connection this practice brings is invaluable to teens when they are in such a transitional phase between child and adult.
26. Lack of Zzzs is an ongoing issue for teens because biologically their sleep cycles have changed but the world of school has not adapted to that. So cut them some slack if they sleep in on the weekends. Celebrate that they are listening to their bodies.
Sue LeBreton is a freelance writer and mom of a teen and a tween. A trained yoga teacher, she is always looking for ways to bring more Zen into her family.