Social media pressure. Identity. Racial unrest. Health issues. Politics. Climate change. Global economy. There is no shortage of stressors in today’s world—as if being a teen or adolescent wasn’t hard enough.
Stress is a natural part of life, but it can take a detrimental toll on both our mental and physical health at any age. Everyone copes with stress differently, and what may upset one person may not bother someone else. Some common signs of when stress is negatively affecting you include:
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing frequent headaches
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
While no one can completely rid themselves of stress, there are ways to cope with it more productively. Here are six tips to use to help reduce and help you manage your stress.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Not only do you function better when you get enough rest, it helps you maintain your physical and mental well-being. While it’s tempting to strategize your next Tik Tok challenge or have the last say in a meme war until all hours of the night, try saying “no” to more screen time, and “yes” to more dream time.
It’s true. Regular exercise is a great way to relieve stress. And you don’t need a gym membership to get active. Try power walking or cardio dancing or kickboxing. Look up YouTube videos that you can follow at home. Working out a little each day for even 20 minutes will greatly improve your mental and physical health.
What you put into your body affects your mental health just as much as your physical health. Good nutrition makes a difference, so pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel after. Limit caffeine and processed foods and replace them with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and water.
Make time to do something you enjoy and love doing because it will relieve stress and save you from burn out. Not sure what to do? Paint, write a song, do origami, take up gardening, make soap. Find time (even if just a little) to indulge in something you like or have an interest in–it’s a necessary break for your mind and soul.
The best way to cope with feeling overwhelmed is to take the approach of “one thing at a time.” Even an ordinary workload can seem impossible when under tension or stress. Pick one task or item to focus on and when complete, cross it off, and move onto the next. There is something very positive and mood lifting about “checking off” to-do’s; this satisfaction can be the motivator you need to keep going.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to talk about how you’re feeling with someone you trust. Stress is a heavy burden to carry, especially if rooted in feelings such as loneliness or a sense of inadequacy.
It’s important to know you don’t have to go through this alone. If you are struggling to cope or if your stress and anxiety won’t go away or worsens, please let your parents, teachers, and learning success coaches know. They are here to support you.
If you’re interested in learning more information on stress and how to manage it effectively, check out these resources:
*Information provided by Mental Health America