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50 Healthy Self Care Ideas and Activities for Teens

Building a solid self-care routine during the teenage years is essential to the overall health of young adults.

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Developing a self-care routine is one of the best ways to honor your physical health, mental well-being, and emotional health.  Committing to regular self-care activities is valuable for people of all ages, especially young people who are learning how to navigate the awkward teenage years.

The importance of self-care for teens

A solid self-care routine helps teenagers thrive and find balance. The positive effects of self-care activities teach life skills that help teens self-regulate through typical stresses, anxieties and difficult times of confusion or feeling overwhelmed.

Middle school and high school students are under more pressure today than ever before.  Mental health challenges are common and physical life changes are happening at warp speed. Understanding the value and importance of committing to self-care early on is key to better overall health.

In fact, research shows that positive self-concept, or the beliefs you hold about yourself, plays a key role in the overall well-being of young people.  One of the best ways to promote positive self-concept in teens is to empower them with a good self-care routine.

The benefits of regular self-care for teens

Developing healthy habits of self-care can bring tremendous health benefits and improve overall well-being including:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Better relationships
  • Higher levels of confidence
  • Stress reduction
  • Better physical health
  • Elevated mood
  • Increased energy levels
  • Self care ideas for teens

Between balancing everyday life and the busy schedules of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and social events it can be challenging for a teen to develop a regular self-care routine.  The most important thing is to find which forms of self-care work best for you and to remember that small steps are still steps in the right direction!

The good news is that there are a ton of simple ways to start developing a self-care routine today!

50 examples of self-care activities for teens

1. Find a mentor

Being mentored can create a lifelong positive impact for young people.  Cultivating this type of relationship during the teenage years is a great way for young adults to gain different perspectives when navigating challenges or stressful situations.  Supportive and healthy relationships with a mentor can provide an opportunity for young people to grow their confidence and knowledge.

2. Establish a bedtime or nighttime routine

The CDC recommends that young people, ages 13-18 years old, should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Teens who don’t regularly get enough sleep, or experience sleep deprivation, can have serious consequences for their physical health and emotional health.  They are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, mental health conditions, and issues with attention and behavior.

Create a relaxing nighttime routine by going to bed around the same time each night.  Little things like reducing screen time an hour prior to bed, diffusing some lavender oil, reading a book, or listening to a meditation app are all helpful ways to stimulate relaxation and a restful night’s sleep.

3. Take a social media break

One of the most powerful, yet simple ways, to practice a good self-care activity is to take a social media break.  For young people, this may feel like a difficult task so encourage taking small steps.  Check daily screen time across all social media platforms and start by reducing it by 25%.  Even short breaks can have a positive impact on teen confidence and mental well-being.

4. Eat a healthy diet

Eating healthy food is essential to well-being and can greatly impact a teen’s physical health as well as their emotional health. A healthy diet is also one that includes a healthy breakfast.  Making breakfast a part of your teen’s daily routine not only provides a mountain of health benefits, but that morning meal is linked to better outcomes in school by improving concentration, memory, and attention. There are tons of healthy breakfast ideas to try even if you’re pressed for time.

5. Create a daily skin care routine

The teenage years and puberty can be tough on skin.  The best way to feel refreshed while also fighting off clogged pores is to wash your face twice daily, moisturize and wear sunscreen. Plus, taking good care of your skin is a great way for a teen to feel more confident. Cerave foaming cleanser is one of the most recommended facial cleansers for teens and is reasonably priced in the world of skin care.

6. Listen to your favorite music

Throw on some tunes and sing along, dance or even just listen and relax.  In addition to helping with stress reduction, listening to music can energize you and boost your mood. Create a new playlist of upbeat music or press play on an old favorite and infuse some tunes into your daily self-care routine.

7. Start a bullet journal

Journaling is one of the best healthy behaviors to cultivate during the teenage years, but it can be challenging and even feel a bit awkward for young people to get started.  Bullet journaling is a good idea for beginners as it provides a fun way to express thoughts and practice mindfulness while being creative.  All you need is a blank or grid-style notebook and some colored pencils or fine tip pens.  A bullet journal provides simple ways to use doodles, sketches, drawings, word art or any other form of creative expression to help process emotions, manage stress and relax.  There are tons of bullet journal templates and ideas, or you can create your own!

8. Practice positive self-talk daily

One of the most powerful tools in any self-care routine is to be mindful of how you speak to yourself.  Positive-self talk is essential for young people to build good self-esteem and elevate confidence levels.  Staying positive during the teenage years can be challenging but incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine can bring tons of benefits including, increased self-worth, better decision making, higher levels of confidence, improved mental well-being, and a willingness to try new things and meet new people.

9. Physical activity

The mind-clearing power of physical activity does wonders to promote good adolescent mental health.  Exercise releases endorphins which act as mood boosters and help to reduce stress and anxiety.  Incorporating regular exercise into your self-care routine is a great way to take care of your physical health as well as your mental well-being.  Find a fun activity or favorite exercise and add it to your daily routine and enjoy the health benefits!

10. Create art or do something creative

Finding a creative outlet can be a great way for young adults to express their thoughts and feelings.  Different activities such as painting, coloring, writing, crafting, and making music all provide an opportunity for creative expression.  This peaceful form of self care encourages teens to discover themselves while providing a healthy emotional release.

40 more great examples of self-care ideas!

11. Plant a garden

12. Take your dog for a long walk

13. Distance yourself from toxic friendships

14. Care about good grades – keep a calendar for assignments and schoolwork

15. Set boundaries

16. Clean out your closet

17. Reorganize your bedroom

18. Learn to meditate

19. Decrease your sugar intake

20. Make your bed

21. Read a good book or about a topic you enjoy

22. Go for a bike ride

23. Join a club or after-school activity

24. Limit your screen time

25. Practice deep breathing

26. Create a vision board

27. Stay hydrated

28. Take a warm shower or bubble bath

29. Spray some perfume or cologne

30. Go outside and appreciate nature

31. Volunteer

32. Make a list of your accomplishments

33. Play a board game with a family member or friend

34. Do a puzzle

35. Color

36. Get a pedicure

37. Take a nap

38. Make a healthy smoothie

39. Watch your favorite movie

40. Unplug for a few hours

41. Make a list of things you like about yourself

42. Laugh with someone

43. Talk with someone about your future goals

44. Diffuse lavender oil at bedtime

45. Create a budget

46. Schedule some alone time

47. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself

48. Practice good posture and body language

49. Read an inspirational story or watch an inspirational movie

50. Listen to a motivational podcast

Getting started with a self-care routine

The perfect time to start is now!  Even building small things into your daily self-care routine, such as practicing some deep breaths throughout the day, will begin to have positive effects.

Different things work for different people so don’t be afraid to try new self-care ideas to find which self-care activities feel right for you!