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Advice to my younger self

Group of teenagers

Find out what that one piece of advice the people at Bupa wish they had heard when they were at school. It's part of our Well Ahead campaign with the Bupa Foundation.

About Bupa and the Bupa Foundation

Bupa’s purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives. They do this by providing a broad range of healthcare services, support and advice to people throughout their lives.  

The Bupa Foundation are a charity, they run and help fund practical projects to support better mental wellbeing.

What I wish I had heard when I was a teenager

Before I left school I wish I’d known how important friendship is. Over your lifetime you’ll meet lots of people; some will stay in your life and some won’t. Life is full of highs and lows and having friends beside you to celebrate the good times and pick you up in the low times is so important.

There have been times in my life when I’ve really needed my friends – once I decided to run a marathon (even though I didn’t even own a pair of trainers!) and I remember the only thing that got me around those 26 miles was 25 of my friends each standing at a different mile screaming my name and cheering me on. And of course, they were all at the finish line too because they believed in me (I don’t think I even believed in myself, but I knew I couldn’t let them down).

There have been other times in my life when I’ve felt sad or upset, or have had my heart broken. In some of my darkest times it has been my friends who have picked me up and done anything in their power to put a smile back on my face.

And there have been times in my life when I have just wanted to have FUN. Whether that be a girls’ holiday, a night out dancing or laughing for hours on the sofa about stories we remember from school. These are the moments I will cherish forever and when I look back on my younger years I wish I could relive them.

Cherish your friends, support them, help them, listen to them and always, always be their biggest cheerleader.

Sam, Events & Engagement Manager

When I was a teenager, I thought life was tough... being told what do to at school and by your parents, feeling like you were letting people down when things didn’t go to plan – like failing a test, skipping school, not telling my parents where I was going – but it felt a lot safer on the streets even with no mobile phones!

But as I’ve got older and become a parent to two teenagers, I’ve realised it's tough out there now – the internet, social media, school, everything is harder and more complicated. There are lots of external pressures which can make you feel bad about yourself and that you’re just not good enough, however remember you are!

My advice to my teenage self would be stay true to you, enjoy being a teenager, make memories, use any mistakes as life lessons, stay safe and overall be kind to yourself and to others!

Sarah, Events & Engagement Consultant

When I was 13, I was so worried about saying the wrong thing, or not looking cool in front of friends, that I wasn’t able to share how I truly felt. Maybe I was having a rubbish day but in hindsight if I had shared this, I could have been supported.

Say yes to opportunities, work hard at school, say no when you don’t want to do things and journal! Journalling can be so good for your mental health and a great way to improve your creativity.

Farahnaz, Service Team Manager – Webchat/ICH