Many young people can find themselves overwhelmed by the world. There is so much they do not know, and there is so much they have yet to see. It can feel like the pressure is going to crush you. It can feel unbearable.
I would know. I have been young. I know what it is like. The expectations, the fears. The embarrassment and the insecurity. It can all pile up and the next thing you know you are swimming in a pot of emotion and despair that you cannot get out of.
So, what do I have to offer? What will I and my magical words on your screen do to alleviate some of that struggle? Sadly, the best I can offer is a little advice. Ultimately, everyone’s paths are theirs, and theirs alone, to walk. I cannot walk this path for you, but I can give you some friendly pointers along the way.
So why not have a listen. Even if only for a little while… Maybe you’ll find something inspiring in my words. Would it be so bad to close Instagram for a bit, let the Snapchats pass by, or do something else while you wait for your Intertops poker bonus?
And, at the end of the day, you don’t have to listen to a word I say. What do I know? I’m just some crackpot on the internet. But, I hope you do find some sort of value to what I say. For your sake, if not for mine.
Take it Slow
The world is a place built on speed. Everyone wants to do everything so fast they barely have time to stop for a moment and smell the roses.
This isn’t great for anyone. Especially young people. You have a lot of life left to live. Don’t rush through life and find yourself at the end too quickly.
I’ve heard many people say how they wish they could be a child again. How nice it would be to be free of responsibility and to be able to just have fun with life.
You may feel like everyone tells you what to do. That you even have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. This is true. In many ways, your hands are tied behind your backs. You cannot do whatever you want. But you do have a certain freedom.
Most of us were supported by our parents when we were young. We weren’t the ones who had to worry about bills. We didn’t have to worry about whether there would be food on the table. We had our friends, and we had our beloved things. That was enough.
Of course, there is always a sad case where a child has to grow up too quickly. Trauma is a horrible thing no matter who it happens to. And it makes children into adults. Most often, far too quickly. Children should be allowed to be children.
You can usually see it in their eyes. A sort of knowing stare. Eyes that seem far too knowledgeable and weary than any child’s eyes should. I’ve seen it. Abuse victims, refugees, pictures of Holocaust survivors. You can see their metaphorical scars. You can see the great burden on their shoulders in their eyes.
Why am I talking about this? Well, it’s to prove a point. Most children don’t have to go through such horrors. So, it’s important to be thankful for what we have. Don’t let the time slip by. Don’t find yourself at the end to be regretting…
The life of a teenager is not necessarily an easy one. From the outside, problems may seem silly to other people. However, that does not change the fact that they do not feel silly. To that person, whatever happened can make them feel like their world is coming apart.
So, it can be frustrating when people tell you to, “realize that it’s not a big deal.” Yeah. Thanks. We know it isn’t the biggest deal. That does not change how it feels. Teenagers are going through a time of change. Small things can become big.
So, if my advice is not to realize that things aren’t so big a deal, then what is my advice. Well, it is simply to stay strong. To realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Things may seem bad now, but they will change! They always change.
And, if you don’t see how things could change, then be the change you want to see! Make a plan. Think about who you want to be, and how you can become that person.
For instance, let us say you want to become a nicer person. You feel you could be more welcoming and kind to others. So, make a plan! Figure out how you will accomplish that goal.
You could maybe make yourself be more friendly to people even if you don’t want to. Do something spontaneous that is nice for someone. Invite someone over to sit and eat with you who looks lonely. Maybe even something as simple as asking a kid who looks sad if he is okay. Only a small act can mean the world to someone.
Confidence is Key
Another common issue that a younger person might struggle with is confidence. Maybe you struggle to be confident, and you want to know how you can be more confident.
There are a few good ways to help with this also. One way is to simply force yourself out of your comfort zone. Go up and talk to people. Walk with confidence. Put on a power pose and know that you look better with your chin up than nervous with your head down.
Another thing I found very helpful for me to be more confident is to realize that many people will think about things in a positive light. Are you nervous to dance because people will think you look silly? Well, it may help to realize that they are nervous too.
For example, if you decide to dance anyway, especially if you do look silly, they won’t make fun of you. They will want to be you. You will come off as confident and poised, not a nervous loser.
Think about how you would think of yourself if you were one of the other people. Would you think somebody is weird for dancing poorly and having a good time? You would probably just think good for him, and continue on with your night. That is how they see you.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
I have personally known many teenagers who have had self-destructive tendencies out of circumstance. Usually, these revolved around schooling in some way, but either way, they are still bad for you.
Some of the most common things I’ve seen are teenagers not eating or drinking. Whether it be out of laziness, or a perceived lack of time, I’ve known many people to go whole days without eating, or worse, drinking!
This will affect you in many negative ways. The first being mood. Food is vital to keeping your mood up. Many people when they get low blood sugar will become irritable. This will lead to you having a lack of motivation and could make you suffer academically.
A second byproduct of not eating is being tired! Food gives you the vital energy you need to survive. Without it, you won’t have any, “fuel in the tank” so to speak. This can lead to fatigue, tiredness, an inability to concentrate, and slower mental capabilities.
Perhaps worse than not eating is not drinking. This can also lead to many of the same effects as not eating. You could become irritable, and fatigued. You will be uncomfortable because of the need for water, and you will be dehydrated.
Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue which will also cause you to perform worse academically and mentally. This is why eating and drinking are very important. Not just for school, but to simply function.
Another big point is that you are still developing! Your body needs nutrients to grow and change. If you aren’t eating enough this can lead to problems and harmful effects on your growth.
Take Care of Yourself
For many teens, schooling can become the single most important thing that their lives revolve around. This, of course, is unbelievably horrible for them.
When school comes front and center, you will drown in stress and your overall life will suffer. Sadly, for many people, there is nothing to be done about this. The school system puts itself before the health of its students, and everyone suffers.
So, teenagers need to try and keep themselves above water. How can we do this? First of all, “all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.” You need to set aside time for leisure activities. Something you enjoy and that will help you relieve stress.
It is also important to hang out with other people. Take time during the week to have hangouts with your friends. If need be, make these times set in stone. Other things change around them, not they change for other things. School may be important, but relationships are more valuable than any riches in the world.
Mental health is something at an all-time low especially now during the pandemic. Teenagers are stuck at home, and it is difficult for everyone. This is why it is important to realize what things are truly valuable in this world to us.
If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us it is that life is never determined. You never truly know what could happen. Life’s too short to waste on things that won’t matter to us in the end. So, spend a day with your girlfriend. Spend a day with your boyfriend. Go skating with the boys. Take it easy. Life is waiting for you when you are ready.