Ranging from taking on a job, cramming for a test, stressing over grades, or just being teenagers, we all become occupied sometimes even beyond measure. Often many of us neglect ourselves, becoming the needle in our own haystack. However, forgetting ourselves is a mistake.
Our teenage years can be the most formidable years of our lives. In addition to dealing with teenage stress, dealing with our mental and physical health can be just as challenging and more easily neglected. For instance, I recently had a health scare which resulted in me being hospitalized for three weeks. All that time away affected my school work, my sports, and countless other aspects of my life, but most importantly it made me reflect on my health habits. I thought such habits were not going to harm me but they caught up to me, and now I am struggling to get hold of my life again.
There are various ways of maintaining our mental and physical well-being such as a healthy diet, a normal sleeping pattern, and a healthy amount of physical activity on a daily basis. Much like a car our bodies are an engine, and if we forget to care for them they will stop working for us.
Common knowledge suggests, every individual should be eating about five times a day in order to maintain an appropriate amount of sugar in the body, for the purpose of providing enough energy. This includes three main meals and two snacks. Sure you’ve heard of this “recommendation,” but do you ever follow it? To begin with, let’s make one thing clear, it is not just a “recommendation,” it’s a day to day necessity. Personally, I was only eating about twice a day because of my schedule. I believed I just couldn’t make time for more meals in my agenda, and I didn’t make it a priority. However, I have learned to make time, and so should you. You can do so by educating yourself, with articles, family members, and as a primary source you’re own doctor, because if you lose sight of your own health u might just find yourself flat on your back.
If calories are your worry, ask your doctor what the appropriate caloric intake per day is in accordance to your height, weight, and gender. Additionally, your meals don’t have to be endless amounts, like the endless breadsticks at olive gardens. They should be proportionate portions. If you believe this will only make you hungrier, then your solution is eating those five times a day, and balancing out meals, without over emphasizing or forgetting any food group. As a result you will find that you will feel better, your skin will look better and your immune system will be much stronger. Not to mention how much your heart and brain will thank you for nurturing them!
Now, we have one of the most enjoyable aspects of personal health; sufficient sleep. As teenagers it seems that sleep is our favorite pastime. It is one of life’s best gifts and I was greatly mistaken when I thought I could function on less than four hours of sleep a day. The appropriate amount of sleep we should all be getting at this age is at least eight hours a night. Needless to say, lack of sleep makes no individual a super hero. However I am sure the vast majority of us have no trouble with this aspect, but for those of you who were just like me, and believe “sleep is for the weak,” consider all its side effects, and soon you will find they will provide you with more negative results rather than positive one’s. Don’t forget to mention, all the awesome days you’ve gone with massive headaches from the lack of sleep, the countless selfies you have ruined with those hideous eye bags, and the chirpy mood with which you respond to your teachers.
Lastly, my personal favorite aspect of health, exercise. Just as with the other two maintenance habits, exercise can go both ways – not enough or too much. Not enough exercise, can create many cardiovascular and weight related issues. In fact, according to Palo Alto Medical Foundation it is known that thirty percent of children and teens, ages six through nineteen are overweight. That is almost a third of all kids and teens! On the other hand, excessive activity is just as bad, because pushing your body to its breaking point is neither safe nor fun. “The Blot” magazine states that it can result in various physical and mental consequences such as; sprains, stress fractures, arthritis, and osteoporosis. As for mental consequences it can come to result in extreme depression and anxiety. It is a dangerous slippery slope, in the we should learn to draw a line from enjoyment and leisure to compulsive necessity. I forgot to draw my line and was forced to put my running season on hold this year. I realized my hobby, the once existent passion became my own danger.
As I said, being an athlete, a student, and an active club participant does not mean you can add zombie to your list. Do not make my mistake, instead, just as you learned to prioritize all you’re other activities, learn to prioritize yourself. If you believe you will not be able to finish your school work after practice, finish it while having your lunch or even while in club meetings, because if you’re as busy as me by now you know multi-tasking has been one of your tools since the day you began school. As my mom always says, “Everything but death has a solution to it; it’s up to you to find it.” If you have never realized the way you manage your health, make a change and begin realizing today. If you don’t, it might just be too late tomorrow.