Author: Eva Carlston Academy

Blog for Eva Carlston Academy reviews

Summer Activities to Boost Mental Health for Adolescent Girls

Summer should be a time of freedom and exploration, especially for adolescent girls transitioning from the structured environment of school to the open possibilities of summer vacation. This period offers a unique opportunity to engage in activities that can significantly enhance mental health and well-being. Eva Carlston Academy reviews some summer activities that promote mental health for adolescent girls, ranging from outdoor adventures to creative arts and volunteer opportunities.

Outdoor Adventures

  • Hiking and Nature Walks

Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. Hiking and nature walks offer a chance to disconnect from technology, breathe fresh air, and fully appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Girls can explore local trails, parks, or even take weekend trips to nearby mountains or forests. This activity promotes physical health and fosters a sense of accomplishment and peace.

  • Beach Days and Swimming

The beach provides a perfect setting for relaxation and fun. Swimming, building sandcastles, or simply lounging by the water can be incredibly soothing. The rhythmic sound of waves and the warmth of the sun can help alleviate anxiety and boost serotonin levels. Group activities like beach volleyball or paddleboarding can also promote social interaction and teamwork.

  • Camping and Bonfires

Camping is an excellent way to bond with friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors. Setting up tents, cooking over a campfire, and telling stories under the stars are perfect ways to create lasting memories and strengthen relationships. Bonfires are particularly great for unwinding, as the warmth and glow of the fire can have a calming effect on the mind.

Creative Arts

  • Art Classes and Workshops

Art is a powerful form of self-expression that can help with processing emotions and reducing stress. Enrolling in art classes or workshops allows girls to explore different mediums, such as painting, pottery, or sculpture. These activities not only enhance creativity but also provide a therapeutic outlet for expressing feelings and thoughts.

  • Music and Dance

Engaging in music and dance can significantly uplift mood and energy levels. Whether it’s learning to play a musical instrument, joining a choir, or taking dance classes, these activities provide an excellent way to channel emotions and improve self-esteem. Music and dance also encourage physical activity, which is beneficial for overall mental health.

  • Writing and Journaling

Writing is another effective way to process emotions and reflect on personal experiences. Keeping a journal or writing poetry and short stories can help girls articulate their thoughts and feelings. Creative writing workshops or summer camps focused on writing can also provide a supportive environment for sharing and receiving feedback.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Community Service Projects

Volunteering fosters a sense of purpose and connection to the community. Girls can participate in various community service projects, such as helping at local food banks, animal shelters, or environmental cleanups. These activities instill a sense of responsibility and empathy while providing an opportunity to make a positive impact.

  • Mentorship Programs

Becoming a mentor to younger children can be incredibly rewarding. Many organizations offer mentorship programs where older girls can help younger ones with academic subjects, arts and crafts, or sports. This experience not only boosts the mentor’s confidence and leadership skills but also creates meaningful connections.

  • Charity Runs and Walks

Participating in charity runs or walks combines physical exercise with philanthropy. These events often support causes like cancer research, mental health awareness, or local charities. Training for and participating in these events can instill a sense of accomplishment and solidarity, enhancing mental well-being.

Social and Recreational Activities

  • Summer Camps

Summer camps provide a structured environment where girls can learn new skills, make friends, and build self-confidence. Camps focused on specific interests, such as science, sports, or arts, can cater to individual passions and provide a supportive community. The variety of activities and the opportunity to be independent can greatly contribute to personal growth.

  • Book Clubs

Joining a book club can stimulate the mind and provide a sense of community. Discussing books with peers encourages critical thinking and opens up different perspectives. It’s also a great way to continue learning and exploring new ideas during the summer months.

  • Yoga and Meditation

Practicing yoga and meditation can greatly reduce stress and promote mental clarity. Many community centers and yoga studios offer summer classes for teens. These practices help girls develop mindfulness and relaxation techniques that they can use throughout their lives.

Summer offers a wealth of opportunities for adolescent girls to engage in activities that boost mental health and well-being. Whether through outdoor adventures, creative arts, volunteer work, or social and recreational activities, the key is to find enjoyable and fulfilling experiences. Encouraging girls to explore these activities can help them develop resilience, self-esteem, and a positive outlook on life. As they navigate the challenges of adolescence, these summer activities are a great way to provide a solid foundation for mental health and happiness.

Coloring Outside the Lines: How Art Therapy Empowers Teen Girls to Express Themselves

In a world increasingly characterized by stringent academic expectations, social media pressures, and complex family dynamics, the mental health of teenage girls often hangs in a delicate balance. While traditional forms of therapy can be effective, they may not resonate with all, especially young individuals who are still exploring their identities and personal expressions. Enter art therapy, a form of psychotherapy that encourages self-expression through creative activities like drawing, painting, and sculpting. Eva Carlston Academy reviews this therapeutic approach, which has been gaining ground as a powerful tool in empowering teen girls to navigate the challenges of adolescence.

Understanding Art Therapy

Art therapy is grounded in the belief that creative expression can foster healing and mental wellness. It is a modality that utilizes the process of artistic creation to help individuals explore emotions, develop self-awareness, manage stress, and boost self-esteem. For teenagers, particularly girls, who are often more susceptible to emotional fluctuations during puberty, art therapy offers a non-verbal outlet for complex feelings that they might not be able to express through words.

The American Art Therapy Association highlights that this form of therapy helps individuals “resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage problematic behaviors, reduce negative stress, and achieve personal insight.” The accessibility of art—regardless of innate talent—makes it a universal medium for personal exploration and expression.

The Plight of Teenage Girls Today

Today’s teenage girls face a myriad of pressures. From body image issues exacerbated by the curated realities of Instagram to cyberbullying, academic pressures, and a heightened awareness of global issues, the weight on their shoulders is immense. The statistics are telling; according to the World Health Organization, depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19, with girls being disproportionately affected.

The silent battles these young women face can lead to feelings of isolation, confusion, and despair. Traditional talk therapies can sometimes feel intimidating or ineffectual for those who are naturally more reserved or who struggle to articulate their emotions.

The Role of Art Therapy in Expression and Healing

Art therapy offers an alternative avenue for expression that doesn’t rely solely on words. For teen girls, it provides a safe space to visually express what’s happening in their minds without the fear of judgment or misunderstanding. For instance, creating an abstract painting can allow a girl to explore her feelings of sadness or anxiety without having to verbalize them directly, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Moreover, the act of creating something tangible can be incredibly empowering. It gives control back to the individual—an essential aspect for teens who often feel that much of their lives is governed by external factors, such as school and parental expectations. Completing an artwork instills a sense of accomplishment, which can significantly boost self-esteem.

Case Studies and Practical Applications

Several case studies underscore the transformative power of art therapy. In a high school setting, a group of teenage girls participated in weekly art therapy sessions over a semester. The program provided various materials and mediums, allowing the girls to choose how they wanted to express themselves each week. The results were profound. Teachers and parents noted improvements in the girls’ overall mood, communication skills, and openness in discussing their feelings.

One particular case involved a 15-year-old girl struggling with severe anxiety and depression. Through regular art therapy sessions, she found a preference for watercolor as her primary medium. She expressed that mixing colors and creating fluid shapes on paper was therapeutic, and that it mirrored her mental process of navigating emotions. Over time, her ability to manage anxiety improved significantly, showcasing how metaphorical expression through art can parallel emotional growth and recovery.

Implementing Art Therapy

Implementing art therapy into the lives of teen girls can be done in various ways. Schools can incorporate it into their regular counseling services, offering sessions as a part of their wellness programs. Communities and local health centers can also host art therapy workshops focused on teenagers. For families, engaging a certified art therapist for private sessions is another approach to supporting a teen’s mental health.

Art therapy represents a vibrant thread in the broader tapestry of mental health solutions for today’s youth. For teenage girls, who often navigate complex emotional landscapes, it offers a canvas to color outside the lines—to explore, express, and understand themselves in a profoundly personal and meaningful way. As more schools, communities, and therapists recognize the benefits of art therapy, it is poised to become a vital tool in supporting the mental health of young women across the globe. By harnessing creativity, we pave another path to healing—one brushstroke at a time.

Coping with Trauma and Adversity: Resilience in Adolescent Girls

Adolescence is a time of significant change, growth, and self-discovery. However, it can also be a period marked by trauma, adversity, and difficult life circumstances. For adolescent girls, these challenges can have a profound impact on their mental health and well-being. Developing resilience—the ability to adapt and recover from setbacks—is essential in helping them navigate these challenging times. In this article, Eva Carlston Academy reviews how adolescent girls can build resilience in the face of trauma and adversity, offering guidance on coping skills and when to seek professional help.

Understanding Trauma

Trauma and adversity can take many forms. Adolescent girls may face a range of difficult circumstances, such as bullying, family conflict, loss of a loved one, abuse, or academic pressure. These experiences often lead to emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and a sense of helplessness. Building resilience is critical to helping them cope with these challenges and move forward.

Resilience is not about avoiding or ignoring difficult emotions; it’s about finding healthy ways to process them and develop the strength to persevere. Let’s explore practical strategies to help adolescent girls build resilience in the face of adversity.

Building Coping Skills for Resilience

Coping skills are the tools and strategies that help individuals manage stress, trauma, and adversity. Here are some effective techniques that can assist adolescent girls in building resilience:

Developing a Support System

A strong support system is a cornerstone of resilience. Encourage adolescent girls to build relationships with trusted family members, friends, teachers, or mentors who can offer guidance and emotional support. These connections provide a sense of belonging and reassurance during challenging times.

Practicing Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help adolescent girls manage stress and stay grounded. Practices such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Encourage them to take time each day to focus on their breath and be present in the moment.

Engaging in Physical Activity

Physical activity is a powerful stress-relief tool. Regular exercise, such as walking, jogging, dancing, or playing sports, releases endorphins and improves mood. Encourage adolescent girls to find physical activities they enjoy and incorporate them into their routine.

Journaling and Expressive Writing

Journaling allows adolescent girls to express their thoughts and emotions in a safe and private way. Writing about their feelings can help them thoroughly process traumatic experiences and gain clarity. Suggest that they keep a journal to explore their thoughts and track their progress over time.

Pursuing Hobbies and Interests

Engaging in hobbies and interests can be a source of comfort and joy during challenging times. Encourage adolescent girls to explore creative outlets such as painting, music, or crafting. Pursuing their passions helps them build confidence and resilience.

Seeking Professional Help When Needed

While coping skills are essential, it’s important to recognize when professional help is needed. Trauma and adversity can lead to serious emotional and psychological issues that require expert intervention. Encourage adolescent girls to seek professional help if they experience the following:

  • Persistent Feelings of Sadness or Hopelessness: If they struggle with ongoing sadness or hopelessness, it may be a sign of depression.
  • Difficulty Functioning in Daily Life: If they find it challenging to perform daily tasks, go to school, or interact with others, professional help may be needed.
  • Thoughts of Self-Harm or Suicide: If they express thoughts of self-harm or suicide, seek immediate professional assistance.

Mental health professionals, such as counselors, therapists, and psychologists, are trained to help individuals navigate trauma and adversity. Encourage adolescent girls to seek help without hesitation, as addressing emotional and psychological concerns early can lead to better outcomes and experiences.


Coping with trauma and adversity is a difficult journey, but developing resilience can empower adolescent girls to overcome life’s challenges. By building a strong support system, practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, engaging in physical activity, journaling, and pursuing hobbies, they can find the strength to move forward. However, it’s also crucial to seek professional help when needed, as some issues require expert-level guidance.

Encourage adolescent girls to embrace their journey, knowing that resilience is a skill that grows with time and effort. By fostering these coping skills and recognizing when to seek help, they can effectively navigate the ups and downs of adolescence and emerge stronger on the other side.

Recognizing the Signs: How to Identify and Address Depression and Anxiety in Teenage Girls

Adolescence is a pivotal stage marked by significant physical, emotional, and social changes. While it’s normal for teenagers to experience occasional mood swings and stress, persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness may indicate the presence of underlying mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Recognizing the signs and providing support is crucial for helping teenage girls navigate these challenges and promoting their overall well-being.

Understanding Depression and Anxiety in Teenage Girls

Depression and anxiety are common mental health disorders that affect millions of teenagers worldwide. In teenage girls, these conditions may manifest differently than they would in adults, making them challenging to identify. Depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating. Anxiety, on the other hand, may present as excessive worry, restlessness, irritability, and physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches.

Recognizing the Signs

Recognizing the signs of depression and anxiety in teenage girls is crucial for early intervention and support. Eva Carlston Academy notes that some common signs to watch out for include:

  1. Changes in behavior: Withdrawal from social activities, loss of interest in hobbies, or avoidance of previously enjoyed activities.
  2. Mood swings: Extreme mood swings, irritability, or sudden outbursts of anger.
  3. Changes in sleep patterns: Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, frequent nightmares, or fatigue.
  4. Changes in appetite: Significant changes in eating habits, including loss of appetite or overeating.
  5. Physical symptoms: Headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained physical symptoms.
  6. Academic or performance decline: Sudden academic performance decline, frequent school absences, or difficulty concentrating.
  7. Self-harm or suicidal thoughts: Expressions of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, including talking about death or suicide.

Addressing Depression and Anxiety

Addressing depression and anxiety in teenage girls requires a comprehensive approach that involves both professional support and parental involvement. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Open communication: Create a supportive environment where teenage girls feel comfortable expressing their feelings and concerns without judgment.
  2. Seek professional help: Encourage teenage girls to seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, who can provide individualized treatment and support.
  3. Encourage healthy habits: Encourage healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep, which can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  4. Promote social connections: Encourage teenage girls to maintain their social connections with friends and family, participate in social activities, and seek peer support.
  5. Monitor and support: Monitor teenage girls’ behavior and mood regularly, and be sure to offer support and encouragement when needed. Let them know they are not alone, and that help is available.
  6. Educate yourself: Educate yourself about depression and anxiety in teenage girls, including the common signs and symptoms, treatment options, and ways to offer support.

Recognizing and addressing depression and anxiety in teenage girls is essential for promoting their mental health and well-being. By understanding the signs, providing support, and seeking professional help when needed, we can help teenage girls navigate these challenges and thrive during their most critical stage of development. Teenage girls can learn to manage their symptoms, build resilience, and lead fulfilling lives with early intervention and support.

The Importance of Self-Care: Teaching Teenage Girls to Prioritize Mental Well-Being in a Busy World

In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, teenage girls often have to juggle multiple responsibilities, from academic pressures to social expectations and extracurricular activities. Amidst this whirlwind of obligations, it’s easy for them to neglect their mental well-being. However, prioritizing self-care is essential for maintaining balance, managing stress, and promoting overall mental health. In this blog, Eva Carlston Academy will explore the importance of self-care for teenage girls, providing practical tips for incorporating self-care practices into their daily lives.

Understanding Self-Care

Self-care encompasses a range of activities and practices that prioritize one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It involves intentionally nurturing oneself, recharging energy levels, and cultivating a sense of balance and inner peace. While self-care practices may vary from person to person, they often include exercise, mindfulness meditation, journaling, leisure time, and engaging in hobbies or creative pursuits.

The Importance of Self-Care for Teenage Girls

Teenage girls face a myriad of challenges and stressors, including academic pressure, social dynamics, body image issues, and peer relationships. Neglecting adequate self-care can exacerbate these challenges and lead to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout. By prioritizing self-care, teenage girls can better cope with stress, build resilience, and improve their overall mental health and well-being.

Practical Tips for Incorporating Self-Care into Daily Life

  1. Schedule “me” time: Encourage teenage girls to carve out some time for self-care activities, whether that means a morning meditation session, an afternoon walk in nature, or an evening spent indulging in a favorite hobby.
  2. Practice mindfulness: Teach mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, body scans, or guided meditation to help teenage girls stay present, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of calm amidst the chaos of daily life.
  3. Prioritize sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Encourage teenage girls to establish a regular sleep routine, avoid screens before bedtime, and create a relaxing sleep environment to promote restful sleep.
  4. Nourish the body: Emphasize the importance of balanced nutrition and regular meals to encourage healthy eating habits. Eating nourishing foods can fuel the body and mind, boost mood, and improve one’s overall well-being.
  5. Stay active: Regular physical activity is not only beneficial for physical health, but also for mental health. Encourage teenage girls to find and stick to activities they enjoy, whether it’s yoga, dancing, or team sports, and to incorporate exercise into their daily routines.
  6. Set boundaries: Teach teenage girls the importance of setting boundaries and saying no to activities or commitments that drain their energy or cause undue stress. Empower them to prioritize their own needs and well-being.
  7. Practice self-compassion: Encourage teenage girls to be kind to themselves and practice self-compassion. Remind them that making mistakes, taking breaks, and seeking support when needed is okay.

In today’s fast-paced world, self-care is more important than ever for teenage girls. By prioritizing their mental well-being and incorporating self-care practices into their daily lives, adolescent girls can build resilience, manage stress, and thrive amidst life’s challenges. As parents, educators, and mentors, it’s essential to encourage and support teenage girls in prioritizing self-care and making their mental health a top priority. By doing so, we can empower them to lead balanced, fulfilling lives and navigate the complexities of adolescence with confidence and resilience.

Peer Pressure and Mental Health: Making Informed Choices

Navigating the teenage years can be a complex and challenging journey, with peer pressure standing out as one of the most significant hurdles to overcome. This period of life is marked by a quest for identity, belonging, and acceptance, making adolescents particularly vulnerable to the influences of their social circles. Eva Carlston Academy, a female-owned and operated facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, is at the forefront of addressing the challenges of peer pressure among adolescents. Catering to girls aged 12-18, the Academy offers a second chance in life, focusing on mental health and informed decision-making amidst peer influences. The Academy’s urban living spaces, situated in residential neighborhoods, provide a safe, secure, and home-like environment. Detailed below is an exploration of Eva Carlston Academy’s approach to managing peer pressure and equipping its students for positive decision-making.

The Nature of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is the influence exerted by one’s peers to encouraging that person to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to group norms. While peer pressure is often perceived as negative, it’s important to recognize that it can also be a positive force, encouraging healthy behaviors and supporting good choices. However, the negative aspects of peer pressure are typically more prominent and concerning, especially when they lead to harmful behaviors or mental health challenges. At Eva Carlston Academy, peer pressure is acknowledged as a complex issue affecting adolescents. Through its milieu-based treatment and lifestyle therapy, the Eva Carlston Academy addresses various forms of peer influence within a supportive, home-like atmosphere, complete with art therapy rooms and classrooms.

The Mental Health Connection

The link between peer pressure and mental health in adolescents is a critical concern. The desire to fit in or be accepted by peers can cause significant amounts of stress and anxiety. This can lead to a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, and low self-esteem. In more extreme cases, succumbing to negative peer pressure can result in engaging in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, smoking, or unhealthy eating habits, which further exacerbate mental health problems.

The impact on mental health can be both immediate and long-term. The immediate effects include increased stress and anxiety levels, while the long-term effects may include enduring patterns of negative thinking and behavior, which can have a lasting impact on an individual’s life. Eva Carlston Academy’s staff understands the significant effect that peer pressure can have on a young girl’s mental health.

Positive Decision-Making Strategies

Adolescents can employ various strategies to cope with and resist negative peer pressure, thereby safeguarding their mental health. Eva Carlston Academy employs a multi-faceted approach to help students resist negative peer pressure:

  • Developing Self-Awareness: A strong sense of self functions as a powerful defense against negative peer pressure. Teens should be encouraged to explore and develop a thorough understand their personal values, beliefs, and preferences. This self-awareness creates a foundation for making decisions that are in line with one’s true self, rather than being swayed by external influences.
  • Building Confidence: Confidence is key in resisting negative peer pressure. Adolescents with higher self-esteem are less likely to seek approval from others and more likely to make independent choices. Confidence can be built through achievements in academics, sports, arts, or any other area that interests the teen. Encouraging self-expression and celebrating individual achievements can significantly boost confidence.
  • Choosing Positive Peer Groups: The company one keeps will significantly influence behavior and choices. Seeking out and forming connections with peers who have similar values and interests can create a supportive and positive environment. In such groups, the pressure tends to be towards constructive behaviors rather than destructive ones.
  • Assertiveness Training: Learning to say no is a critical skill in resisting peer pressure. Teens should be taught assertiveness skills, which involve expressing their own needs and desires firmly and respectfully, without offending others. Role-playing different scenarios where they might face peer pressure can be a practical way to develop these skills.
  • Seeking Support: It’s vital for teens to know that they’re not alone and that it’s okay to seek help. Talking to trusted adults, like parents, teachers, or counselors, can provide the support and guidance needed to deal with peer pressure. Support groups and peer mentoring programs can also be beneficial.
  • Staying Informed: Education about the consequences of risky behaviors often pressured by peers (like drug use, alcohol abuse, or reckless driving) can empower teens to make better informed choices. Awareness programs and educational materials that provide factual information about these risks can be effective.

Our Role in Adolescent Development

Parents and educators play a pivotal role in guiding adolescents through the challenges of peer pressure. Eva Carlston Academy extends its support to the families of its students:

  • Fostering Open Communication: Creating an environment where teens feel comfortable sharing their experiences and concerns about peer pressure is crucial. Providing this opportunity for open dialogue helps in understanding their challenges and providing appropriate support.
  • Modeling Positive Behavior: Adults should model the behavior they wish to see in their children. Demonstrating how to make choices based on personal values rather than societal pressures can be a powerful lesson for adolescents.
  • Implementing Educational Programs: Schools and community organizations can offer programs focused on teaching young people about peer pressure. These programs should include strategies to resist negative influences and promote individual decision-making.
  • Guidance and Monitoring: While respecting their need for independence, it’s important for parents and educators to remain involved and observant. Guiding adolescents in their choice of friends and activities, and intervening when necessary, is part of providing a safety net.

In conclusion, peer pressure is an inevitable aspect of adolescent life. However, by understanding its dynamics and employing strategies to manage it, teenagers can navigate these challenges successfully. Eva Carlston Academy is more than a treatment facility; it’s a community committed to empowering young girls to navigate the complexities of adolescence, including peer pressure. Its unique setting in Salt Lake City, combined with comprehensive therapeutic and educational programs, equips students with the necessary tools to make positive choices, improve their mental health, and successfully reintegrate into their families and communities.

Nurturing Teen Mental Health Through Quality Sleep

In an era where the mental health of teenagers is becoming more and more of a concerning topic, the role of sleep in supporting psychological well-being has emerged as a key area of focus. Adolescence, a pivotal stage of development, is marked by significant physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. During this period, sleep becomes even more than just a restorative necessity; it’s a fundamental pillar supporting mental health. Eva Carlston Academy places a strong emphasis on the importance of sleep for the mental health of its students.

Deepening the Understanding of Sleep and Mental Well-Being

The importance of sleep in the life of a teenager cannot be overstated. It’s a time when the brain undergoes crucial developmental processes, including synaptic pruning, where the brain discards neural connections that are no longer needed and strengthens those that are frequently used. Recognizing that adequate sleep is crucial for mood regulation, cognitive function, and overall mental health, the Eva Carlston Academy ensures that its students receive the necessary 8-10 hours of sleep each night, aligning with recommendations for adolescent well-being.

The Complex Relationship Between Sleep and Emotional Regulation

Research has consistently demonstrated that there’s a strong correlation between sleep quality and emotional well-being in teenagers. Inadequate sleep can lead to heightened emotional reactivity, making teens more prone to mood swings and irritability. The Eva Carlston Academy understands that this can exacerbate tendencies towards anxiety and depression.

  • Cognitive Functions and Sleep: The teenage brain is still developing areas responsible for executive functions, including problem-solving, memory, and decision-making. Sleep plays a critical role in this development. During deep sleep stages, the brain consolidates memories and information learned during the day, enhancing learning and memory retention.
  • The Stress Connection: Stress and sleep have a reciprocal relationship in teenagers. High stress can lead to sleep disturbances, while poor sleep can increase the body’s stress response. This can create a cycle where stress and sleeplessness feed off each other, leading to heightened anxiety and other stress-related issues.
  • Breaking the Cycle: Understanding the bidirectional nature of the relationship between sleep and mental health is critical. It’s not just that poor sleep can lead to mental health challenges; mental health problems can also disturb sleep patterns. Addressing one aspect of this cycle can often help to alleviate the other.

Comprehensive Strategies for Improving Sleep Habits

Enhancing sleep quality in teenagers is a multifaceted endeavor involving changes in lifestyle, environment, and mindset. The Eva Carlston Academy understands just how important a good night’s rest can be for developing teenagers.

  • Consistency in Sleep Patterns: Encouraging a regular sleep schedule is vital. Consistency in sleep and wake times sets the body’s internal clock, leading to improved sleep quality.
  • Optimizing the Sleep Environment: The bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep. This means maintaining a cool, quiet, and dark environment. Reducing noise and light exposure can significantly improve sleep quality.
  • Dietary Considerations: Caffeine and sugar, prevalent in the diets of many teenagers, can have a detrimental impact on sleep. Reducing intake, especially during the hours leading up to bedtime, can make a significant difference.
  • Physical Activity and Sleep: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep quality. However, it’s important to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime because it can have a stimulating effect.
  • Pre-Bedtime Routines: Establishing a relaxing routine before bed can signal to the body that it’s time to wind down. This might include activities like reading, listening to calm music, or practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Technology and Sleep: In today’s digital age, screen time is a major concern. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with melatonin production, disrupting the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Encouraging teens to disconnect from their devices an hour before bedtime can be beneficial.
  • Addressing Sleep Disorders and Mental Health Issues: Sometimes, sleep problems are symptoms of underlying health issues, including mental health disorders. It’s important for parents and caregivers to be vigilant and seek professional help if sleep problems persist.
  • Educational Programs on Sleep Health: Schools and communities can play a role in promoting sleep health by incorporating educational programs that emphasize the importance of sleep for well-being.
  • Parental Involvement and Support: Parents can support their teenagers by modeling good sleep habits and creating a home environment conducive to healthy sleep practices.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I): For teens struggling with insomnia, CBT-I, a structured program that helps identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep, can be a particularly effective treatment.

In conclusion, sleep is an essential component of a teenager’s mental and physical health. By understanding the complex relationship between sleep and mental well-being and implementing strategies to improve sleep habits, we can support our youth in navigating the challenges of adolescence. A holistic approach that includes lifestyle changes, environmental adjustments, and professional intervention, when necessary, can pave the way for healthier, more resilient teenagers. Eva Carlston Academy’s commitment to the critical role of sleep in teen mental health is evident in its comprehensive approach, which includes therapeutic support, lifestyle therapy, and a nurturing residential environment. The academy strives to empower its students with the tools they need for long-term success and well-being.

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Teens

Eva Carlston Academy

As the new year approaches, it’s the perfect time for teenagers to reflect on their goals and aspirations. Knowing that most New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by the time the calendar switches to February, here are ten resolutions teens can stick to in 2024 from the experts at Eva Carlston Academy.

  1. Embrace a healthy lifestyle:
    Eat a balanced diet: Focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein while limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
    Move your body regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week. Find activities you enjoy, such as sports, dancing, swimming, or biking.
    Prioritize sleep: Teenagers need around 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine for optimal rest.
  2. Enhance your mental well-being:
    Practice mindfulness: Techniques like meditation and yoga can help you focus on the present moment and better manage stress.
    Challenge negative thoughts: Don’t let negativity control your mind. Replace self-criticism with positive affirmations and practice self-compassion.
    Seek support when needed: If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.
  3. Strengthen your relationships:
    Spend quality time with loved ones: Put down your phone and truly connect with family and friends through meaningful conversations and shared activities.
    Develop open and honest communication: Listen actively and express your thoughts and feelings respectfully to build stronger relationships.
    Expand your social circle: Join clubs, volunteer in your community, or simply say “hello” to someone new to broaden your social network.
  4. Foster academic excellence:
    Set SMART goals: Make every goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound for better focus and motivation.
    Master time management: Create a schedule that balances academic work, extracurricular activities, and personal time. Utilize tools like planners and calendars to stay organized.
    Seek help and resources: Don’t be afraid to ask for help from teachers, tutors, or academic advisors. Utilize resources like libraries and online learning platforms to enhance your understanding.
  5. Explore new horizons:
    Discover new hobbies and interests: This could be anything from music and art to coding and writing. Try new things to find activities that spark your passion.
    Challenge yourself intellectually: Read various books, engage in stimulating discussions, participate in workshops, and broaden your perspective through new experiences.
    Express your creativity: Whether through art, music, writing, or other mediums, it’s always beneficial to find ways to express your unique talents and perspectives.
  6. Develop financial literacy:
    Track your income and expenses: Create a budget to understand your financial situation and make informed decisions. Budgeting apps can help simplify this process.
    Learn about smart spending: Differentiate between needs and wants. Make conscious financial choices and avoid unnecessary debt.
    Start saving early: Even small amounts saved consistently can add up over time. Develop a savings plan and work towards achieving your financial goals.
  7. Use technology responsibly:
    Develop valuable digital skills: Learn coding, web design, digital marketing, or other relevant skills that can benefit your future.
    Leverage technology for good: Use technology to connect with others, learn about important issues, and contribute positively to your community.
    Maintain a healthy balance: Limit screen time and prioritize real-world interactions, physical activities, and face-to-face connections.
  8. Become a responsible citizen:
    Stay informed about current events: Read reliable news sources and engage in discussions about important issues to stay aware of what’s happening in the world around you.
    Advocate for causes you care about: Volunteer your time, participate in protests or rallies, or speak out against injustice to help make a difference.
    Practice responsible environmentalism: Reduce your carbon footprint, conserve resources, and participate in initiatives to protect the environment.
  9. Develop a growth mindset:
    Embrace challenges: View obstacles as opportunities for learning and growth. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try new things.
    Learn from mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes. See them as learning experiences and use them to improve and overcome challenges.
    Be persistent: Don’t give up easily. Persistence and dedication are key to achieving goals and reaching your full potential.
  10. Celebrate your progress:
    Acknowledge your accomplishments: Take the time to appreciate your achievements, big or small. This will boost your confidence and motivate you to keep moving forward to new goals.
    Be kind to yourself: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and has setbacks. Focus on self-compassion and celebrate your journey along the way.

Coping Strategies for Stressed Teens During the Holidays

Eva Carlston Academy

The holiday season, while seemingly a time of joy and celebration, can be surprisingly stressful for teens. Between academic pressure, family dynamics, and social expectations, the holidays can trigger strong emotions that make it difficult to feel relaxed and happy.

Fortunately, there are several coping strategies that can help teenagers manage their stress and navigate the holidays with greater ease. Here are some effective ways teens can protect their mental well-being and enjoy the festive season from the experts at Eva Carlston Academy:

Managing Expectations

Set realistic goals: Instead of aiming for a picture-perfect holiday experience, set attainable goals for yourself. Focus on spending quality time with loved ones and creating positive memories rather than achieving unrealistic expectations.

Communicate openly: Talk to your family members about your wishes and anxieties regarding the holidays. Discuss gift expectations, schedule changes, and any potential triggers that might arise during gatherings. Open communication can help prevent misunderstandings and create a more supportive environment.

Embrace change: Recognize that the holidays may look different this year compared to previous years. Be adaptable and focus on creating positive experiences in the present moment.

Prioritizing Self-Care

Maintain routines: As much as possible, stick to your regular sleep schedule, mealtimes, and exercise routine. Consistency in your daily habits can provide a sense of normalcy and structure during even the busiest times.

Engage in relaxing activities: Make time for activities that you enjoy and find relaxing, such as reading, taking walks in nature, listening to music, or spending time with hobbies. Prioritizing self-care allows you to recharge and manage stress more effectively.

Mindfulness and meditation: Practices like deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, and meditation can help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Taking a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and focus on your breathing can be incredibly beneficial.

Maintaining Social Connections

Connect with supportive friends: Surround yourself with friends who understand and support you. Spending time with people who make you feel comfortable and appreciated will boost your mood and reduce stress.

Set boundaries: It’s okay to say no to invitations or activities that you don’t feel comfortable with. Don’t feel obligated to attend every event or socialize when you need time for yourself.

Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to manage stress on your own, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Talking to a therapist can provide valuable guidance, support, and coping mechanisms for dealing with holiday stress and other challenges.

Additional Strategies

Get involved in the holidays: Contributing to holiday preparations and traditions can provide a sense of purpose and belonging. Offer to help with cooking, decorating, or planning activities.

Express yourself creatively: Engaging in creative activities like journaling, drawing, or playing music can be a healthy way to express your emotions and process stress.

Limit screen time: While technology can be a useful tool for connecting with others, excessive screen time can contribute to increased anxiety and negative moods. Set boundaries for yourself and take breaks from your phone and social media each day.

Practice gratitude: Taking time to appreciate the positive aspects of your life and the people around you can shift your focus from negativity and promote a sense of gratitude and well-being.

Remember, it’s okay to not be okay: Holidays can be emotionally demanding, and it’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of stress, sadness, or loneliness, so don’t judge yourself for having negative emotions. Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to express them in a healthy way.

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful for teenagers experiencing holiday stress:

By implementing these coping strategies and utilizing available resources, teenagers can navigate the holiday season with greater ease to enjoy a more peaceful and fulfilling experience. Remember, your mental well-being is important, and prioritizing self-care during the holidays is crucial for maintaining a positive and healthy mindset.

The Impact of Social Media on Teenage Mental Health

Eva Carlston Academy

Social media has changed the world, and for many teenagers, social media is their world.

According to a Pew Research Center Survey, teenagers in the U.S. are almost always plugged in. In 2022, 67% of those between the ages of 13 and 17 say they use TikTok (16% use it “almost constantly), 62% use Instagram, 59% use Snapchat and a whopping 95% use YouTube.

As the social media landscape explodes in popularity, its impact on teenage mental health remains a constant concern. Eva Carlston Academy explains that during the vulnerable period of life that is the teenage years, social media has the potential to change lives for the better but also may impact mental health in very significant ways.

Social Media and Development

Adolescence is one of the most critical periods of one’s life. The brain’s separate areas begin to integrate, and development is accelerated. It’s a time when the brain is usually most open to growing and learning.

Adolescents are trying to form their own identity while exerting more independence and developing serious friendships and relationships. All of those factors make teenagers especially vulnerable to social media’s effects.

Positive Effects

Let’s start with the good news. For many teens, social media is where they may find a wealth of social support and essential connections among their own age group. That’s especially important for groups of marginalized people, such as the LGBTQ+ community.

In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General notes that social media may actually provide a mental health boost for youth who identify as LGBTQ+.

In general, social media makes people feel good. Through monitoring social media and checking their number of likes and comments on posts. This activity has been shown to release dopamine, a chemical released in the brain that makes people feel happy.

For some, social media can positively impact self-esteem, especially if there is consistently favorable feedback. And for those who are considered more introverted or find it challenging to meet and chat with people face-to-face, social media may be a helpful tool or those coping with social anxiety.

Eva Carlston Academy

Negative Impacts on Mental Health

Life on social media isn’t always positive — and it can often be detrimental.

Many researchers say that rising mental illness rates are in some way connected to the rise in social media use among adolescents. A 2018 survey found that 59% of teens using social media have experienced some form of cyberbullying, such as name-calling, spreading gossip, or receiving unwanted explicit images.

There are other negative effects on one’s well-being. Numerous surveys have linked anxiety, depression, poor sleep, low self-esteem, and body image issues to toxic social media environments.

Nearly 75% of adolescents surveyed in the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2023 Social Media and Youth Mental Health Advisory say they are either sometimes or often exposed to hate content on social media. In addition, teenagers who use social media for over three years each day are twice as likely to experience poor mental health.

Supporting Mental Health

Lawmakers and parents have the power to support teenagers on social media and prevent them from falling into a negative mental health space.

Policymakers are invested in finding ways to develop safety and health standards across social media platforms that are age-appropriate. Parents or guardians can also dedicate themselves to monitoring a teenager’s social media activity and consider blocking certain sites or social platforms.

And social media companies themselves have a duty to share any information related to the potential mental health effects of adolescents who use their platforms.