Puberty Blues: How to Deal with Your Body’s Changes
Puberty doesn’t just affect your sexual health – i.e. get your body ready for making babies – it also impacts your overall wellbeing. Out of nowhere, your jeans no longer fit, your legs rub together when you run and pores are taking over your face – what’s happening to you? If you’ve ever felt out of step with your body, you’re not alone.
Some of the changes that come with growing up are pretty cool. Guys become more muscular, and girls start developing breast – all things we appreciate. However, before, during and after puberty, your body goes through other changes you might not expect, and this can take its toll on your wellness. You notice that your bum and stomach starts to grow, or you find that you’re suddenly taller and skinnier than you once were. Sometimes, you get a temporary layer of fat during puberty, and this is so your body can prepare itself for a growth spurt. Other people find they fill out permanently, even if they exercise and eat healthy foods. Then there are those who chow down on everything in sight and still stay skinny.
Eventually, all these changes balance out and you adjust to your new body, but it can get some getting used to the way it moves and works. What happens to you physically during puberty can influence how you feel about your body and yourself for a long time to come. It’s perfectly normal to be worried or even upset by the changes you go through; lots of teens base their self-image on how their bodies feel and perform. Even minor details, such as the way you smell, change when you go through puberty, and this is a perfectly normal part of growing up. Still, there are things you can do to help yourself adjust physically and emotionally.
1. Don’t compare: It’s natural to look at your friends for comparison, but it’s not a good idea. Everyone develops differently and at different times, meaning that there’s no point comparing yourself to others. You might have had a growth spurt before everyone else and think you’re too tall, but your friends are probably thinking they’re too small. It’s usually hardest for the people who develop first or last. Also, don’t compare yourself to celebrities and models. With clever airbrushing, hair and makeup, anyone looks that good in the media. In reality, however, no one looks that good.
2. Treat your body well: Part of developing a mind and life of your own means making educated choices about food and exercise. Plus, if you eat right and exercise, you can take some control over how your body turns out. Exercise also boosts your mood, which can be helpful if your changing body has you feeling sad or confused. You don’t have to join a gym or start an insane fitness regime; just go for a walk, play with your dog, or throw a Frisbee with your friends to reap the mood-boosting benefits of exercise. Taking yoga, martial arts classes, or other activities that involve focusing on how the body stretches and moves can help you become familiar with your body.
3. Befriend your body: It takes time to get to know your new body, much in the same way that your relationships with your friends evolve and grow. Just like you know your friends’ secrets, you also see a side to your body that no one else does. However, that doesn’t mean you know your body, or see it accurately. You can spend ages focusing on your sticking-out stomach in the mirror, but all this time you spend obsessing actually distorts your view of reality. The truth is, other people won’t notice it like you do.