When it’s cold and gloomy outside, and you start to get the winter blues … that’s exactly the time to get moving and take extra care of your body! It may feel counterintuitive, but fighting that urge to hibernate will help your teen stay positive and energized through the winter.
Most coping skills for the winter blues can leave teens feeling worse. Evening scrolling leads to late nights and poor quality sleep. Not great for your teen’s memory or energy.
And, those late nights lead to rushed mornings and skipped breakfasts. Want to know the worst pick-me-up snack I’ve ever seen? A bag of hot flaming Cheetos and Mountain Dew at 10:00 am. That high-caffeine and sugar leaves your teen wired and tired, a potent stress cocktail.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Each day, you can help your teen build a few positive diet and lifestyle changes. These are the most helpful ones:
- Get 8-11 hours of sleep a night. Make a rule that screens are off by 8:30 or 9:00. And keep a consistent bedtime.
- Drink water throughout the day. These are my favorite motivational water bottles with time markings.
- Move their body for 30 minutes a day. I know this one is especially tough. You can build momentum with small actions that add up over time. Walking to the town center and shoveling the driveway count. Tag along with a friend on one of their favorite activities. Just keep movement top of mind and be creative together.
- Prep Healthy On-the-Go Snacks. Your teen’s body is like a car. It can’t go if you don’t put the right gas into it. Make whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains readily available. Adolescent nutritionist Bracha Kopstick recommends these portable, filling options. Again, start small and pay attention to what they like.
Start with the smallest possible change. And go slowly.
Building on small wins really works. So pick one activity or change that’s easiest and break it down into the smallest first step. Like letting them pick a water bottle with time markers. Really help your teen notice any improvements to their mood, clarity, or energy after a couple of days. If it’s a hit, then they can try another habit. If the first try wasn’t a win, tweak it as much as you need to. For instance, add lemon or fruit to their water.
Think of these changes as an iterative process and try to be patient for a a smoother, happier experience for ALL.