Stress can occur at any age; the turbulent years of adolescence are no exception. However, no matter what age you are, there are some simple things you can do to help reduce stress and manage its impact on your life. Let’s look at some of these, and how teens can incorporate them into their day-to-day lives…
Eating healthily can help reduce stress in teens
When we get stressed it’s often tempting to indulge ourselves in comfort foods, perhaps those high in sugar. Unfortunately, this is a very temporary fix; sooner or later the ‘hit’ goes and we start to crash again. Instead, it’s a good idea to concentrate on foods high in protein. Examples might include nuts, lean meat, fish, or eggs. The protein helps to slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream. It’s also important to eat natural foods and get in your five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Also, you should be sure to eat regular meals and not skip them, etc, which will only make things worse as you crash later in the day (which might prompt an unhealthy binge).
Regular fresh air and exercise is useful in helping teens combat stress
Regular exercise is a great stress reliever. For some, it means engaging in football practice or similar or perhaps a run. Even if you’re not particularly sporty, a nice walk outside can do wonders for reducing stress and indeed our mental health in general. While the climate in Ireland isn’t always the warmest or driest, do try to get out every day and fill those lungs with fresh air.
Don’t bottle up your worries, talk them out
Teens can have a lot going on, whether be with exam pressure, changes in their family, bullying, or relationship troubles. These can trigger all kinds of unpleasant emotions and feelings. It’s completely ok to feel these. The important thing is you don’t bottle them up and let them overwhelm you. Talk about them with someone you trust. This might be a parent, an aunt or uncle, grandparent, sibling, friend, teacher, or guidance counsellor. Remember the saying, ‘sharing the problem, halves the problem’. This is especially true when it comes to processing anxieties and difficult emotions that cause you stress.
Journaling can help teens manage stress
Some may find it silly, but keeping a journal or diary can be a very effective way in coping with stress. By doing so you can release your emotions and feelings through writing. While it’s no substitute for a good old chat, for those feeling alone it can give some level of release rather than choosing to internalise your stresses entirely. Apart from writing, you could also channel your emotions into colouring or drawing. Whatever works for you.
Meditation has been proven to help reduce cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for stress. It also helps prevent the mind from ruminating over worrying or intrusive thoughts that may be causing further stress.
Always try to get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is important to our physical and mental wellbeing. It’s crucial to our performance in school, work, and all other activities. Getting insufficient sleep will only increase stress, so try your best to maintain a regular sleep pattern, go to bed at a regular time and try to avoid using screens before (or in) bed; phone screens, etc emit white light which has the effect of keeping the brain active rather than promoting sleep.
These are just a few ways that can help teens to manage stress and reduce its impact. I advise everyone, no matter what age, to incorporate these into their daily routines. However, if the stress continues to feel overwhelming you can reach out to me using the contact details below and we can see if I’m able to help.