Your teen years are one of those times when your entire self – your body, your mind, and your emotions – are in a state of constant flux. You’re not a child anymore, but you are not yet a fully formed adult. There are times when you probably feel very independent of your parents, confident in your decisions, and ready to head out into the world; but other times you want your parents to take care of you, and the outside world seems noisy and scary.
This is all perfectly normal.
College-bound young entrepreneurs naturally have more going on than other teens. Not only are you dealing with school and its regular stressors, but you’re also probably taking at least one A.P. class that requires more of your time and energy. Thinking about college means thinking about all the outside activities you’ll need to list on your application, including sports, clubs, and volunteering. In addition to all that, you’re on the path of young entrepreneurship, starting a business and devoting yourself to making it a success.
That’s a lot for anyone, much less someone still growing into themselves!
For these reasons (and more), you must think about your health. Personal health is the first step toward achieving a better quality of life that balances the things you need to do with the things you want to do. And while we here at the Kanther Foundation love to see ambitious young entrepreneurs conquer the world, we also know how easy it is to burn out on your many responsibilities.
Here are a few tips to consider so that you can be your best self in all aspects of your ever-evolving life.
Your body is one of the constants in your life you need to prioritize. It’s been with you on your journey so far, and it’ll be with you wherever life takes you. Your teen years are the best time to learn and develop healthy habits to take with you into adulthood.
Right now, you may feel invincible, as if a cup of black coffee in the mornings is all you need to power up for the day. Eating poorly might not take much of a toll on how you feel the next day. But this feeling won’t last, and if you want to gain the entrepreneurial success you deserve in the future, it starts with adopting healthier habits now.
You don’t need to run marathons or follow a strict diet to be physically healthy. Nor do you need to count every calorie or stress over every pound. Physical health is more holistic than that.
Physical activity doesn’t have to mean tons of exercise: a short walk or a few minutes of stretching is better than nothing at all. As for eating, you don’t need to completely cut out sugar, carbs, red meat, or anything else that brings you joy. But do start thinking about ways to add more nutrient-rich foods to your everyday eating habits.
While we’re on the subject of physical health, don’t forget about your teeth and gums, wearing sunscreen and sunglasses when you go outside, drinking plenty of water, and protecting your ears by decreasing the volume a little bit on your headphones or earbuds.
Mental health care is just as important to a healthy life balance as physical health. This includes your emotional well-being as well as your inner stress levels. You wouldn’t try to run up ten flights of stairs with a broken leg; neither should you try to take on your many responsibilities with suboptimal mental health.
Taking care of your mental health includes:
- Learning healthy ways to manage stress
- Developing positive coping mechanisms
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
- Helpful and positive relationships with family, friends, and teachers
- Attention to academics
- Knowing when to say no to additional responsibilities
- Learning how to prioritize your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks
For young entrepreneurs, that last one is especially important. It’s easy to get caught up in the “something new and shiny!” phase of your entrepreneurial journey. It’s good to be enthusiastic and excited about your new adventure! But we all have times when we fall down that rabbit hole of a new project to the detriment of our other responsibilities. When you start to feel overwhelmed, try to take a step back and see if one thing or another is sucking up all your time and mental energy. And if that’s the case, what can you do about it?
You’re lucky to be growing up in a time when the mental health of children and teens is being taken seriously. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness and it doesn’t mean you aren’t still an awesome, ambitious, intelligent, and powerful young adult.
SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH
Olympic athletes don’t get to be the best by neglecting their minds and bodies. They are very aware of what their bodies need to perform in peak condition. And they know when to step away as part of their self-care.
Before you can be the best student, the best sibling, the best friend, the best child, the best athlete, you need to take a long, honest look at your lifestyle. How do you feel, overall? Are you always tired? What can you do to improve your sleep hygiene, so you feel more rested during the day? Are you butting heads with a teacher over grades? Is this a battle worth fighting, or can you drop it and move on? Do your friends love and support you, or do they make you feel bad about yourself? Are you only friends with them out of habit?
The successful entrepreneurs of today didn’t get where they are by neglecting their wants and needs. As the poet Max Ehrmann says in his famous poem, Desiderata, “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.” You deserve to feel joy and happiness! Life should not be all sacrifice and hard work. Take time to nurture your mind and body so you can be as healthy and strong in adulthood as you can be!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation’s commitment to young entrepreneurs, including our college scholarships for high school students, by clicking here.