So many of the common issues that I see in the Nurses office can be treated with taking care of the basic needs each of us have and are especially important for the rapidly changing and growing adolescent. The foundation of wellness begins with Self Care. The basic components are:
- Nutrition - eating breakfast is an absolute must. Having a meal that provides a combination of Protein and carbohydrates give the body the energy it needs to get moving and the brain to function at its best. Also aim to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and avoid sugary foods and drinks. So many of the common complaints seen in my office such as headache and stomach ache can be avoided simply by eating breakfast as well as having a snack and healthy lunch.
- Water - I can't stress enough the importance of water! So many students (and adults for that matter) do not drink enough water and are in a dehydrated state. This also is a very common cause of headaches and fatigue. Drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day is a must. If you engage in any physical activity or are ill this amount needs to increased to compensate for water loss through sweating. Water also helps keep the gastrointestinal tract moving!
- Exercise - Getting the body moving helps get your metabolism going, helps maintain a healthy weight, and wards of heart disease, diabetes, and boosts mood and mental health. Get at least an hour of physical activity in a day!
- Sleep - Adolescent's bodies need 8-9 hours of sleep at night. This time gives the body and brain the restorative time it needs to function at it's best each day. When a child is sleep deprived it makes it impossible to concentrate and work to the best of their ability in school. It can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression as well.