Teenagers are a frightening and fascinating type of creature, with a swarm of emotions constantly being thrown at them all at once. Balancing the struggle of earning good grades, understanding the truth of friendship, extracurricular activities, sitting in a chair for seven hours a week, listening to a teacher ramble on about things we forget by next week, dealing with heartbreak and relationships are just a few things teens have to deal with on a weekly basis.
So, how do teenagers manage to carry all this weight onto their shoulders? These constant battles are truly affecting teenagers’ mental health, draining them from all of their energy along with the added pressure of social media, parents, and society. There seems to be a standard that is constantly held to teenagers. With these consuming expectations overflowing our minds, it’s hard to feel normal. Social media is filled with millions of perfectly photoshopped boys and girls making teens feel like they do not meet their beauty standards. As for our parents, we want to constantly satisfy their expectations and are terrified of letting them down. All of this is a lot to take in. So, here are some ways to feel like a ‘normal’ teen.
Put down that phone. Something we often hear from our elders. We’re told that being on our phones is the cause of teenage depression. However, that is only partially true. It is not the phone itself, but rather what is on the phone. It’s no doubt that social media is an enormous factor in our culture. The million-dollar question, do the benefits of social media outweigh the cons? Many teenagers are sucked into the false reality of the online personae they’ve created for themselves. Teens are so focused on taking on the role of this perfect person online, they forget about real life. They are not that perfect person and that is okay. In the wise words of Hannah Montana, “nobody is perfect”. So, put down that phone and turn off your social media apps once in a while. Sometimes, it all gets too consuming and we need a break.
Parents don’t know everything. The fear of letting down your parent or guardian is one of the most disappointing, heart-breaking feelings ever. We want to fulfill their expectations, but sometimes their expectations are set higher than we can actually achieve. So, talk it out with them in a respectful manner, yet not withholding your true emotions. Your views matter. Explain to them your circumstances and aspects you need to work on. Your parent or guardian should know you well enough to set expectations that are achievable for you. This way, you won’t be haunted by the fear of letting them down. It also reduces the amount of stress you have, with a constant burden on your chest of satisfying something you know you can’t. That is why communication and mutual understanding are important.
Discover something you are passionate about. Finding a hobby could be beneficial towards your mental health, as it is used as a valuable distraction from the real world. They defeat stress and broaden your creativity! Find the time to focus on your interests, not just in school but outside of school. Your interests don’t need to be knotty or great pastimes, it can range from something as minor as rock collecting all the way to travel parts of the world you’ve never seen before. Don’t allow yourself to neglect your hobbies.
School life vs. Social life. Balance out your school life between your social life. Yes, school is influential and advantageous to your education. However, your social life is just as important. You deserve a good time out with your friends, a day at the beach, wilding at a concert and more. Make sure to organize when you are going out for a good time and when you’ll be doing your history homework. Try to avoid overlapping the two and stress when you’ve come home late to hours of homework to complete. So try to manage your time with school work between your social life and lessen your troubles.
And lastly, know this: You are stronger than your demons. Don’t believe that your demons look like the mean ones at school, the mean comments said to you, or the people who tear you down for their own insecure reasons. Your demons look like no one else but you. Yes, the cruel words of those are left on repeat 1,000 times in your head, but you are the one playing them over and over again. Their evil words carve into your brain and you adapt to their lies, believing them like it’s the truth. It’s not. You are stronger than that. You are stronger than your demons. If you are feeling like the world is against you and are in need of someone to talk to, don’t be afraid. Find someone you trust and talk to them about your current state of mind. As stated earlier, communication is important. You may find someone in the crowd who was afraid to use their voice and can relate to you. You are not, nor will you ever, be completely alone.