10 simple stress busters for adolescents

Children and adolescents are as susceptible to stress as adults. Factors like starting a new school, arguing with friends, moving out of their favourite neighbourhood – can all lead to stress.

Stress can affect their health and impact how they feel about themselves. The most important thing to learn about stress is how to spot it.

Young people can do that by listening to their body signals and learning healthy ways to handle it.

Knowing how to deal can be half the battle won!

Here are 10 tips to keep adolescents cool, calm, and collected:

1 Put your body in motion.
Moving from the chair to the couch while watching TV is not being physically active! Physical activity is one of the most important ways to keep stress away by clearing your head and lifting your spirits. Physical activity also increases endorphin levels — the natural “feel-good” chemicals in the body which leave you with a naturally happy feeling.

Whether you like full-fledged games of football, tennis, or roller hockey, or you prefer walks with family and friends, it’s important to get up, get out, and get moving!

2 Fuel up.
Start your day off with a full tank — eating breakfast will give you the energy you need to tackle the day. Eating regular meals (this means

no skipping dinner) and taking time to enjoy them (nope, eating in the car on the way to practice doesn’t count) will make you feel better too.

Make sure to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, proteins (peanut chaat, a chicken sandwich, or a tuna salad) and grains (wheat bread, whole wheat rotis, or some crackers) — these will give you the power you need to make it through those hectic days.

Don’t be fooled by the jolt of energy you get from sodas and sugary snacks — this only lasts a short time, and once it wears off, you may
feel sluggish and more tired than usual. For that extra boost of energy to sail through history notes, math class, and after school activities, grab a banana, some string cheese, or a granola bar for some power-packed energy!

3 LOL!
Some say that laughter is the best medicine — well, in many cases, it is! Did you know that it takes 15 facial muscles to laugh? Lots of

laughin’ can make you feel good — and, that good feeling can stay with you even after the laughter stops. So, head off stress with regular doses of laughter by watching a funny movie or cartoons, reading a joke book (you may even learn some new jokes), or even make up your own riddles…laughter can make you feel like a new person!

Everyone has those days when they do something really silly or stupid — instead of getting upset with yourself, laugh out loud! No one’s perfect! Life should be about having fun. So, lighten up!

4 Have fun with friends.
Being with people you like is always a good way to ditch your stress. Get a group together to go to the movies, play a game of cricket, or
play a board game — or just hang out and talk. Friends can help you work through your problems and let you see the brighter side of things.

5 Spill to someone you trust.
Instead of keeping your feelings bottled up inside, talk to someone you trust or respect about what’s bothering you. It could be a friend, a parent, someone in your family, or a teacher. Talking out your problems and seeing them from a different view might help you figure out ways to deal with them. Just remember, you don’t have to go it alone!

6 Take time to chill.
Pick a comfy spot to sit and read, daydream, or even take a snooze. Listen to your favourite music. Work on a relaxing project like putting together a puzzle or making jewellery.

Stress can sometimes make you feel like a tight rubber band — stretched to the limit! If this happens, take a few deep breaths to help
yourself unwind. If you’re in the middle of an impossible homework problem, take a break! Finding time to relax after (and sometimes during) a hectic day or week can make all the difference.

7 Catch some zzzzz…
Fatigue is a best friend to stress. When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s hard to deal — you may feel tired, cranky, or you may have trouble thinking clearly. When you’re overtired, a problem may seem much bigger than it actually is. You may have a hard time doing a school assignment that usually seems easy, you don’t do your best in sports or any physical activity, or you may have an argument with your friends over something really stupid.

Sleep is a big deal! Getting the right amount of sleep is especially important for kids your age. Because your body (and mind) is changing and developing, it requires more sleep to re-charge for the next day. So don’t resist, hit the hay!

8 Keep a journal.
If you’re having one of those crazy days when nothing goes right, it’s a good idea to write things down in a journal to get it off of your
chest — like how you feel, what’s going on in your life, and things you’d like to accomplish. You could even write down what you do when you’re faced with a stressful situation, and then look back and think about how you handled it later. So, find a quiet spot, grab a notebook and pen, and start writing!

9 Get it together.
Too much to do but not enough time? Forgot your homework? Feeling overwhelmed or discombobulated? Being unprepared for school, practice, or other activities can make for a very stressful day!
Getting everything done can be a challenge, but all you have to do is plan a little and get organized.

10 Lend a hand.
Get involved in an activity that helps others. It’s almost impossible to feel stressed out when you’re helping someone else. It’s also a great way to find out about yourself and the special qualities you never knew you had! Signing up for a service project is a good idea, but helping others is as easy as saying hello, holding a door, or volunteering to keep a neighbour’s pet. If you want to get involved in a more organized volunteer programme, try working at a local recreation centre, or helping with an after school program. The feeling you will get from helping others is greater than you can imagine!

Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff! Try to pick a few really important things and let the rest slide — getting worked up over
every little thing will only increase your stress. So, toughen up and don’t let stressful situations get to you! Remember, you’re not alone – everyone has stresses in their lives… it’s up to you to choose how to deal with them.

Text: www.cdc.gov
Image: Flickr/creativecommons epsos.de

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