Stress comes in many forms for teens—and that’s putting it mildly.
Plus, plenty of situations can contribute to the amount of stress you feel. From your personal relationships to your academics to your home life—it can all add up quickly.
As you may have guessed, stress doesn’t often go away on its own. More often than not, it seems to just keep building and welling up inside of you.
Unsurprisingly, when stress becomes overwhelming, it’s not generally a shining moment for you. Think emotionally-charged volcanic action or sleeping for days on end kind of “non-shining.”
But there are steps you can to successfully manage the stress in your life.
Here’s an easy-to-follow and very practical 10-step plan you can start today.
1. Identify the Issue, Then Address It
Some days, the problem causing you stress can seem like a real bear—persistent, annoying, and unchangeable. Yet, most problems can be solved with clear thinking. The trouble, though, is that when you feel stressed out, your brain doesn’t always function as you need it to.
The first step in this entire process is to pinpoint what’s really causing the problem. Then, choose to address it rather than to pretend it doesn’t exist (or bother you as much as it does).
2. Keep Away from Stress Whenever You Can
We all have certain people, places, or events that cause us to get emotionally off-track. You can probably name three people right now who influence you in a negative way. That goes for places or events that make you feel stressed out, too.
When you know you’re walking right into a difficult situation, walk right back out (if possible). Do what you can to avoid stress in your life.
3. Let Some Things Roll Off Your Back
It’s hard to let go of things that bug us. After all, holding on to worries can give you a false sense of having some sort of control. But it’s all a fluke—worrying has no power over the weather, other people’s opinions, test dates, etc.
Your best bet is to take a good look at what you can and what you can’t control. Then, choose to focus on those things within your control, such as your own choices.
4. Get Your Body Moving
Whether you’re into sports or not, exercise still works better than anything else to boost your mood. Plus, no one has complained about exchanging stress hormones for the “happy” hormones yet.
Remember, you don’t need to be a running track star or bend yourself into a yoga pretzel (though both are beneficial). A short, brisk walk works wonders. Jogging in place, jumping jacks, or even dancing will also do the trick.
5. Make It a Point to Relax
When you’re involved in what feels like 1,001 events, relaxing usually doesn’t make the priority list. Well… it’s time to change that.
Keep in mind that relaxing means more than zoning out in front of the TV or phone. Relaxing is more deliberating—taking intentional deep breaths or forcing your shoulders down when you’re tense.
6. Give Yourself a One-Up by Eating Nutritiously
First of all, eating healthy isn’t as tough as some make it out to be. You don’t need to completely cut out sweets or soda. But you don’t have to live off of salads, either.
A better approach would be to understand how food fuels your body, and how it impacts your mood as well. For example, to better manage stress, keep your energy levels high by eating fruits/veggies, and whole grains. Protein is another go-to food source to bust that stressed-out feeling.
7. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
Most people don’t get the amount of sleep that they need, including teenagers. However, sleep is oh so good for the human body. In fact, getting enough sleep can help you think more clearly and empower you to handle stressful situations more effectively.
To get the rest you need, start a bedtime routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and keep the blue light (TV, phone, computer, etc.) turned off at least an hour before bed.
8. Let Yourself Take “Instant Vacations”
It’s easy to forget that we don’t have to travel across the country to have a vacation. Instead, we can take “instant vacations.” This could mean strolling in the park, enjoying a hobby, or even taking a hot bath. The goal is to momentarily indulge yourself in something that you enjoy.
These little timeouts can help you to manage stress because you give yourself the space to release it before it builds up.
9. Let Go of Emotional Tension
Let’s be real, emotions can be incredibly overwhelming. And dealing with emotions can feel like winding a jack-in-the-box, never knowing if you can handle what pops out.
So, you might resort to sweeping your feelings under the rug or pushing them down inside of you. But this response tends to give way to that emotionally-charged volcanic action mentioned earlier.
A better solution is to find an outlet—playing guitar, painting, journaling, talking to a friend, etc. An outlet will help you to manage stress in stride, rather than all at once.
10. Give Back to the World
Lastly, be sure to live for more than just getting through the day. You have a bigger purpose in life than simply surviving.
Remember to find your larger purpose and contribute to the world around you. Those who work to make the world a better place tend to have a stronger sense of purpose and meaning.
For more support overcoming the stress in your life, please reach out to us today. Together, we can explore options to help you thrive in every part of your life. Click here to contact us!