9 self-care ideas for teens going back to school

Health & Wellness

Teenagers talk in front of lockers.

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Self-care tips for teens

Going back to school can be a stressful experience for teenagers. They have to worry about the pressures of schoolwork and schedules after the relative freedom of the summer, not to mention concerns about friendship groups, cliques and teachers.

Learning some self-care techniques can make the back-to-school transition much easier for teenagers. Parents can help by providing them with any resources they might need for self-care, but teens will have to follow through themselves.

What is self-care?

When people talk about self-care, it’s often in relation to long soaks in the tub, spa days and manicures, but it encompasses more than that. Self-care is any deliberate action that someone carries out to improve their physical, mental or emotional health and well-being. For some people, getting their nails done or going to a spa is part of their self-care routine, but it can also include engaging in hobbies, meditating, going to therapy, eating healthily, establishing boundaries in relationships and getting organized to avoid stress and overwhelm. These examples are just a drop in the ocean of self-care. Remember that self-care can look different for everyone and can vary for one person on different days.

How can teens practice self-care?

Teens can practice self-care in a range of ways. As a parent or caregiver, you can explain the concept and encourage them to look after their well-being, but it’s up to them to decide what constitutes self-care for them and how to practice it. One side of self-care is finding time to do things that are fun or relaxing. This looks different for everyone — it might be yoga, painting, knitting, soaking in a bubble bath, playing an instrument or engaging in some kind of sporting activity.

Aside from finding time for themselves, self-care for teens also may mean sticking to a schedule so they don’t get overwhelmed, getting enough sleep on school nights, learning to be flexible and resilient, and being an open communicator and telling people what they need.

Self-care ideas for teens going back to school

Peter Pauper Press Celestial Journal

Peter Pauper Press Celestial Journal

A journal is a great self-care outlet for teens, as it’s a private place to write their thoughts and feelings. Regular journaling can have a positive effect on mental health and well-being, and it’s an inexpensive and low-pressure avenue into self-care. This journal has a nice celestial design and plain lined pages. For further details, see the full guide to journals at BestReviews.

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Lightimetunnel Sleep Headphones

Lightimetunnel Sleep Headphones

If your teenager needs to get more sleep, this combination eye mask and headphones is an excellent choice. The soft, well-padded eye mask helps block out light for a better quality of sleep, while the built-in Bluetooth headphones let users listen to relaxing music or podcasts to help them drift off. This is particularly beneficial if you live somewhere with lots of street noise as the headphones will help to drown it out.

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LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set

LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set

Although there’s no reason why self-care has to involve elaborate bathing rituals, it certainly can. These bath bombs are great for teenagers who need to relax and unwind from the stresses of a new term at school. They’re made in the U.S. from high-quality, natural ingredients. They come in a range of gorgeous scents with 12 to a pack.

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Pukka Relax Selection Herbal Tea Gift Box

Pukka Relax Selection Herbal Tea Gift Box

Self-care can be as simple as taking the time to make a nice cup of tea and sipping it quietly. For teens who love hot drinks, herbal tea is a better choice than caffeinated tea or coffee, as it has a calming effect rather than a stimulating one. This gift set looks nice enough to give to your teen as a gift and comes with an array of calming tea bags in individual sachets.

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Blue Sky 2021-2022 Academic Year Weekly & Monthly Planner

Blue Sky 2021-2022 Academic Year Weekly & Monthly Planner

It might not be glamorous, but keeping track of homework, school obligations and social events can be a form of self-care by eliminating the stress that comes from overscheduling and forgetting about deadlines. This neat little academic planner is great for improving organization and scheduling time carefully so as not to get overwhelmed.

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MatraCraft Adult Coloring Book

MatraCraft Adult Coloring Book

If you think that your teen could do with a relaxing hobby, adult coloring books are worth a try. Some people find them extremely meditative and relaxing because they give users something to concentrate on while practicing mindfulness or offer a low-pressure form of artistic expression. This one features intricate animal designs that are satisfying to color in.

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Paul Rubens Artist Grade Watercolor Paint Set

Paul Rubens Artist-Grade Watercolor Paint Set

Watercolor painting is another relaxing hobby for artistic teenagers who would prefer more freedom of expression than an adult coloring book allows. This watercolor set includes 24 colors in a metal box, though you’ll still need to buy brushes and watercolor paper. The pigments are of decent quality and look great on the page.

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Santa Cruz Screaming Hand Full Skateboard Complete

Santa Cruz Screaming Hand Full Skateboard Complete

Hobbies for self-care don’t have to be sedate, so if your teen is active and adventurous, they might like to take up skateboarding. Skateboarding requires concentration and can provide relief from dwelling on everyday worries. This board comes from a reputable skate brand and is wide enough to be relatively stable. Just remember to pick up pads to minimize the chance of injury.

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Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster

Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster

Playing an instrument is another great form of self-care, and electric guitars are cool enough to appeal to most teenagers. This pack includes a quality starter guitar, along with a small practice amp, lead and all the other accessories needed to get started.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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