It’s the holiday time, which means we are ALL scrambling to buy gifts, decorate, plan dinners, attend parties, travel, and deal with family members you may not want at the dinner table. Phew I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
Like balancing your checking account, managing stress is an incredibly important life skill. Hopefully, stress ebbs and flows in your life, but knowing how to manage the high stress seasons can help you maintain relationships and your health during trying times. Students face stress at school from academics to social, and much of it goes on under our noses.
First, before we talk about how to reduce stress let’s get on the same page about why managing stress is important. Long term stress increases irritability, insomnia, your risk of heart attack, and illness, plus it cuts down on your individual happiness. Not knowing how to manage stress can have a ripple effect throughout your entire adult life. Here are 5 tips that you can use to manage stress from almost anywhere.
- Regular exercise.
This shows up on lots of wellness lists, but there are so many benefits to regular and consistent exercise. Let’s face it, our kiddos do A LOT of sitting. Whether it’s in class or at home. In order to benefit most from the stress reducing benefits of exercise, you should establish a regular and consistent routine–whether it’s running, yoga, or weight lifting. Find some ways to get outside and get fresh air.
- Staying organized.
Clutter can cause stress, so keeping clutter free work//study area is worth the effort. Clearing papers//glasses//pens nightly, or each morning, to keep your work area cleared is worth the time commitment. Plus, it will be easier to find things if you keep your work area clutter free, so you won’t have to search for the paper with your project details, or your blood drive permission slip. Sometimes, our kiddos lack the executive function skills to stay organized. This is why having a coach can be beneficial. Together, we work on strategies that work for them!
- Eating right.
Much like regular exercise, you’ll reap this benefit the most if you eat right consistently, rather than sporadically. Eating a balanced diet can help you fight off illness//infections, focus better, and feel better on a daily basis. It can also help de-fog your brain. Lots of processed foods and chemicals and dyes can have a direct impact on our mental focus.
- Positive self-talk and affirmations
Sometimes when we feel stressed, we berate ourselves. We get down on ourselves for things that we did or didn’t do, should or shouldn’t have done, and we can compound problems by talking to ourselves negatively. When we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we can help counteract these feelings by using affirmations–specific, positive statements you recite to yourself, almost like a mantra. An affirmation should be specific, and positive. “I’m organized and prepared” is better than “I’m ready” or “I’m awesome”. (You can read here for more information on creating affirmations to combat stress.)
- Deep breathing.
The best part about deep breathing is that you can do this anywhere, under any type of stressful circumstances. Basically, the way that deep breathing works is that you breathe deeply and rhythmically for a set amount of time–something like breathing in and out in 5 counts for 2 minutes. While you do this, you’ll feel more relaxed if you can attempt to zen your mind as well.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, just 5 easy ways to help your teen manage stress largely on the go. If they can develop effective stress coping strategies in high school, they’ll be better prepared for college as well as careers and the workplace.