8 Great Self-Care Activities for Teens to Stay Centered

Teens have just as much stress as adults, and there are so many ways to relax and take care of yourself.

Published August 18, 2023
teenager relaxing

The pressures of school and life in general can be a lot, and making time to take care of yourself is a great way to keep your stress level under control. From a little bit of pampering to learning something new, there are lots of self-care activities for teens that can help you stay grounded.

Fast Fact

Why is self-care for teens an important goal? Teen stress levels are just as high as those of adults, and almost half of teens don't do enough to manage their stress. Setting aside time for self-care can make a huge difference in their quality of life.

1. Schedule Phone-Free Time

It may feel kind of horrible to contemplate turning off your phone, but it can actually help you reset and get some space from the constant feeling of needing to look at what's happening with friends or in the world. We're not talking about taking hours off of the phone — just 15 minutes once a day when you put it in another room or turn it off.

2. Give Yourself a Manicure

teen painting nails

Grab your favorite polish and give yourself a manicure. It will only take a few minutes, and it's a fun way to give yourself a new look and a little time to decompress. Add cute stickers or decorations if you're feeling super creative or just keep it simple if you don't want to go all out.

3. Watch a Video to Learn Something New

Learning a new skill is one super helpful way to take care of yourself. In fact, some hobbies and skills can be so engrossing that you might be surprised how effectively they give you a break from the stress of daily life.

Whether you're learning a new makeup technique or figuring out how to change a bike tire or make a perfect apple pie, hit up YouTube for some videos to help you expand your skill set.

4. Make Your Favorite Meal

Speaking of apple pie, food can be a pretty perfect way to take care of yourself. We're not talking health food necessarily (although we're not not talking health food). This is more of a comfort food thing, though. What meal makes you feel taken care of? Chances are, it's a family recipe. You can make it just for yourself, but it's perfectly okay to share, too.

5. Play at the Playground

teenager swinging at playground

Remember when you were a kid and you could go on the swings for hours? One of the best self-care activities for teens is making some time to play again. Stop by the playground and just go on the equipment. This is really fun to do with friends, but it's a good time even by yourself.

6. Make Some Imperfect Art

teenager drawing

Besides play, another thing we tend to leave behind in childhood is the ability to make art and have it be less than perfect. Making flawed art is a great self-care activity for high school students, middle schoolers, or anyone else who just needs a little break from the pressure of teen life. Grab your paints, markers, camera, pen, or any tool you love to use and make something.

Quick Tip

Writing is a form of art too, and journaling can also be a great way to relieve stress and take care of yourself. Write about your day, use some creative prompts, or just write out anything you're feeling right now. 

7. Build Something With Legos

Just like swinging on the swings at the playground, this is one of those self-care activities that channels childhood. If you still have your Legos or you have a younger sibling or cousin who has some, spend an hour or two building something. It can be from a kit if you feel like following directions, or you can freestyle it and make whatever you feel like. No wrong answers here.

Quick Tip

Building with Legos can be a great bonding activity for time you might spend with kids, but resist the urge to babysit or help out right now. This is about self-care, and babysitting is not self-care for most of us.

8. Pick (or Buy) Yourself a Bouquet

teen choosing flowers

You know how you might get some flowers for a friend who was having a rough day? Who says you can't do that for yourself too? If you're just feeling down or super stressed, a little bouquet of flowers from the garden or grocery store can be the exact thing you need to brighten up your whole day. It won't fix anything or get your to-do list done, but it will make you smile.

Work Self-Care Into Your Life as a Teen

Even though people might not talk about it that often, self-care for teens is super important and a really good way to get in the habit of taking care of your own needs. If you work self-care into your life now, you may find it easier to destress when you're adulting a little later in life.

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8 Great Self-Care Activities for Teens to Stay Centered