When you're growing up, health is something you often take for granted. That is, until something goes wrong and you get sick or injured. But with very little effort on your part, you can get healthy and stay healthy.
Avoid junk food. One hamburger a week isn't going to change you into a blimp, but if it gets to be an everyday thing, you could be in trouble. If your consumption of chips and hot dogs is greater than your consumption of fresh fruit, vegetables, you will not only pack on the pounds, you will also be unhealthy.
Drink lots of water. A study found that 65% of children between the ages of 11 and 14 do not drink enough water. Could you be one of them? How many glasses of water have you had today? You should have between six and eight every day – more if you are doing a lot of exercise.
Don't squeeze zits. The temptation is huge, but the point is, squeezing makes them worse, as it causes an infection in the skin. This will cause many more problems than it will solve.
Don't harbour grudges. If someone has done something that really makes you angry, vent it, get it out of your system, but don't harbour grudges. This wreaks havoc with your health, as constant anger eats you up from the inside and causes your stress levels to go skyhigh. This has a domino effect, as constant stress reduces the effectiveness of your immune system.
Get some exercise. Exercise does lots of good things for you – it ups your heart rate, drains your lymph nodes, gets your blood circulating, and ups your serotonin levels. Serotonin is your body's feel-good hormone – and heavens, when you're a teenager, you need lots of this! Exercise is a very good antidote for depression, so get moving and do yourself a favour.
Don't smoke or drink or do drugs. Being a teen often means experimenting with lots of new things – this is only natural. But just keep in mind that many people in their twenties and thirties struggle with addictive habits they started in their teens. While lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver can take years to develop, if you think about it, you probably know a teen who has died from taking illegal drugs – why do this to yourself? The problem with people who live on the edge, is they often fall over it.
Get enough sleep. Your body needs all the help it can get in this difficult time of change. It's fine to stay up late now and then, but avoid feeling wiped out by going to bed more or less the same time every night – and that's not at 2 a.m. Try and get a full eight hours, especially on school nights or before exams.
Make some money of your own. Having money of your own gives you a bit of freedom to buy the clothes or the CDs you want. Also, if you get some experience now, it will probably be easier to get a job later on.
Appreciate family and friends. Family can sometimes drive you crazy, but they're the only ones you have. Friends also form part of your support system. Generally, you will receive the same kind of support that you are prepared to give to others. So, in short, be there for your friends, and they will be there for you.
Books, music, movies. These are all great stress relievers. They all take you out of your world for a while – and boy, we all need that sometimes. Join a library, as books are expensive. There's nothing quite like a video on a rainy, cold, winter's evening. And music often says it like you wish you could.
Picture: Teen-listening-to-music from Shutterstock