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Finding Balance in your Life

three teens making lunchDo you ever feel like your plate is too full, between school, work, sports and other activities?

Add the occasional family stress to that list and being a teen can be downright overwhelming.

Some teens have bigger responsibilities than others, like taking care of other kids when parents or care providers are at work. Others may be parents themselves or be dealing with a pregnancy or other stressful issue. The list can often go on and on.

A good way to find balance in your life is to decide what is really important to you. Is finishing school a big goal? Or maybe staying clean or cutting down on alcohol or drug use is an important goal.

No matter what is important to you, making a plan to keep your goals at the top of your list can be helpful.

Balancing Real Life

  • Learn how to say no to others’ requests when your life is too busy already. Saying no can protect your time and help you stay focused – but it isn’t always easy. Try practicing, either out loud in a private spot or in your head so it will come more easily to you. You can use reasons that are true and yet aren’t hurtful for the other person to hear. Try saying “I would like to, but I am swamped right now”, or “I promised myself I would (you can say whatever you want to here, for example: stay clean, finish school, help out at home, not spend money, or whatever it is you are trying to do).
  • Make a plan for yourself – where would you like to be in a year’s time? If you can visualize reaching a goal in a specific time frame it might be easier to keep on track and put aside distractions.
  • Be good to yourself! It’s OK to prioritize your own wants and needs.
  • Learn to turn off your phone and social media from time to time. If you’re always available and distracted by what others are saying and doing you may not have enough time for your own goals and needs. Try to turn off during sleeping hours in particular.
  • You will feel and function better if you get enough rest and eat properly. (It may sound like a cliché – but it’s true!) This isn’t always easy, with competing responsibilities and stresses that are part of today’s society … but we have some tips on achieving better health to help both your mind and body stay strong.
  • Use a calendar, day planner or journal to keep track of your activities, important dates and deadlines. Most laptops, tablets and cell phones have calendars and task lists to help with this.
  • Make a to-do list and keep it up to date. Crossing items off your list helps you to feel productive, and keeps you organized.
  • Ask someone to help you achieve balance in your life by asking a friend to exercise together or asking a family member to provide support and encouragement for your goals.
  • If you’re having difficulty staying on track and on top of things you want to do it may be time to get professional help. Asking for help when it is needed is no cause for blame or shame.
  • Try to get outside for a walk, or go to a park and sit on a bench. And if it is winter, you can still get outside for fresh air, walk through a park, and take in the winter sun.
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