Stress. One word that brings a flood of memories to everyone’s minds. Breakdowns, headaches, clouded minds, and despair. For teenagers, the expectations of school and work combined is a major contributor to their stress levels. As we enter deeper into the school year, it’s time to ask ourselves, “How can I relieve my stress?”
According to “The Washington Post,” 83% of teenagers say school is a source of stress in their daily lives. The problem is that school is a necessary part of their daily lives, something that can’t be avoided. If school is such a large stressor, teenagers have to find some way to deal with it, but many don’t know where to start. Here are some ideas to help.
“Psychology Today” (along with the APA) recommends five simple tips for overcoming stress; get some sleep, focus on your strengths, physical activity, talk to someone, and do things that make you happy. These are all good ideas, but how can they be beneficial to a stress consumed individual?
A major stress reliever is sleep. Sleep is necessary for us to function correctly in our daily lives. As you are sleeping, your body recharges and your mind recounts everything that happened that day, committing necessary and important details to memory.
“Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school,” stated NSI (the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). In other words, taking a quick 15 minute power nap during the day can help relieve stress, but you also need to be getting enough sleep at night to help get rid of part of it in the first place.
Music is another great way to relieve stress. Whether it is listening to your iPod or playing an instrument yourself, music is proven to help.
“Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music,” said PsychCentral. “This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”
Another way to relieve stress is simply by turning assignments in on time or better yet, early. Many teenagers have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to doing schoolwork. While at the time it seems nice to have “no work,” it only adds to your stress levels later on.
“Nothing raises stress levels like a fast-approaching deadline,” stated Healthline. As we approach deadlines, a rush of hormones rushes through our bodies that “elevates your heart rate, boosts your blood pressure, and stops your digestion” (LifeHacker).
As these hormones fill our body, our stress levels go up, causing the assignment to be harder to focus on and think about, causing stress to go up, etc. By the end of this process, you are left feeling depleted and sometimes you still have an unfinished assignment. The easiest way to overcome this stress is to get work done as soon as you can do it, not as soon as you have to do it.
Some other simple ideas for stress-relief are to read a book, play a sport, participate in a play, go hiking or fishing, be with friends, or simply talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
In the end, we are all different. Each one of us will have different levels of stress at different times for different reasons. The best advice I can give is to find something that you enjoy doing that is healthy for both the mind and body. Remember that you are not alone in your struggle, and that someday you’ll be able to overcome your stress in some way or form, no matter how long it takes.