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What’s Your Excuse? 'I Have So Much to Do!'

busy teen studyingYour midterms are Monday, you’ve got a project due tomorrow, and your team’s counting on you for the big game this weekend. With a million tasks on your plate, how can you find time for a break?

True, teens’ schedules are often PACKED. And when you’re busy, sleep and time to unwind are probably the first things you cut out. But that’s not really the best plan.

Without enough time to relax and rest, your body and mind can’t recharge. The more you cut them out, the more likely you are to feel overwhelmed or exhausted. You’ll probably get too wiped out to choose other good things for your body. (A tired, stressed-out brain is a lot more likely to choose the couch and a bag of chips over an apple and a walk around the block.) Eventually, you’ll have even less energy to handle all the things you have going on.

So make chilling out a priority. It really IS possible to make time for it. Even just a bit of time every day can help you be more productive and make better choices. With a few key changes to your routine, you can find ways to fit it all in and find "me" time, too.

Pencil in some fun.

Time to do something you actually like is just as important as school or sports. As often as you can, spend time on a hobby, with family or friends, or just doing nothing at all. If it helps, set a daily appointment on your calendar. An ideal time? Right before bed -- that way, you’ll set yourself up for a great night’s sleep. (Just make sure you don’t use any screens right before lights out.)

Spend less time with your screen.

Think back on your day today -- was there a block of time that your phone, computer, or TV sucked you in? A little screen time might seem like a natural way to take a break, but it actually doesn’t give your brain a chance to relax. (The light, the notifications, the work of crafting the perfect comment on your friend’s photo.) Tomorrow, work on swapping that screen time with something else that will really recharge you, like a bike ride or a chat (in person!) with your BFF.

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