Stress is a natural part of life. We experience it when we are feeling overwhelmed or when we’re dealing with new or unexpected obstacles. This is especially true when you’re navigating your teen years, trying to discover who you are and where you fit in the world.
While stress can sometimes be beneficial in pushing us through difficult situations and making us stronger, there are times when it takes a detrimental toll on both our mental and physical health.
Some common signs of stress negatively affecting you are:
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing frequent headaches
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
While you may not be able to completely rid yourself of stress, there are ways to cope with it that enable you to continue moving forward without feeling like the weight of the world rests on your shoulders. Here are five effective ways to manage your stress:
Get more sleep.
It’s no secret that you function better when you get enough rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should be getting anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. While it may be tempting to hit ‘yes’ when Netflix asks if you’re still watching or launch into a full-on meme war with your friends, consider reducing your screen time in exchange for more dream time.
When people tell you just 30 minutes a day of exercise makes a difference, they’re not lying! Getting active will greatly improve your mental and physical health, and the gym isn’t the only place you can get a good workout in. Try taking a dance or kickboxing class, or looking up YouTube videos you can follow along at home. One of our students discovered the power of yoga and shared how it has had a positive impact on her mental and physical well-being.
What you put into your body affects your mental health just as much as your physical health. Pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. Do you experience more stress when eating processed foods? Are you jittery and anxious when you consume caffeine? Try cutting out foods and drinks that negatively impact your mood and fill your diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and water.
Invest time in your hobbies.
Sometimes you just need a break after the hustle and bustle of a long day or week, and this is where your hobbies come to the rescue. Make time to do the things you love because not only will it relieve stress, but it will also prevent you from completely burning out.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to avoid feeling extremely overwhelmed is to talk about how you’re feeling. Stress can be a heavy burden to carry, especially if it’s stemming from or causing other feelings, such as loneliness or a sense of inadequacy. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a professional, open up to a parent, a friend, or even a teacher you trust. There will always be someone who is willing to listen, but the first step is asking for help.