Stress is a person’s reaction to life changes. There is hardly a time with more changes and stress than the teen years. This is true for the teens and the parents of teens! Along with the life changes, there is a lot going on in the average teens life – appearance concerns, extracurricular activities, friends, school projects, social events, and so forth. Unfortunately, these stresses can converge on teens and their parents at once.
So how can you deal with this kind of stress? Give these stress relief tips for teens and the parents of teens a try.
Really? Just breathing deeply makes everything go away? Not exactly! But deliberate, slow, deep breathing exercises can significantly increase your body’s coping mechanisms, sources say. This is why deep breathing is so often a component of meditation.
If you can get a few quiet minutes, breathe slowly through your nose and slowly out through your mouth. When you inhale, fill your lungs up entirely, breathing down toward your lower abdomen. As you do this, remind yourself that you can handle this, and that this stress won’t last forever.
List-making may be something you’ve heard others talk about and you thought, “Yeah, right!” But it really can help relieve stress for teens and their parents. Get started with this list-making strategy.
Make lists of things you have to do today (study for a test, finish homework, go to the store, do laundry, etc.), then a list of things that must be done this week (write a history report, pick up kids from a track meet), and then a list of long-term things to do (request applications from colleges, read order graduation invitations). Seeing everything on paper may make it look more manageable. From that point, you can begin to estimate how long each task will take and schedule it on a calendar.
Yes, stress seems to make you want more and more caffeine; stress can wear you out and cause you to feel tired. But many sources note that too much caffeine actually makes the underlying stress worse. This is because, at a basic level, caffeine stresses the body’s organs, particularly the liver and kidneys. You don’t need any more stress internally or externally!
Go for high-energy foods like nuts, seeds, lean protein and fruit, particularly berries and citrus for antioxidants and Vitamin C. With the proper nutrition, your mind and body will be better able to handle the stress. As tempting as it may be, be sure to stay away from the “comfort foods” since these won’t really help you in the long run.
Work off the tension and stress with a bit of physical activity. You may be surprised how much a simple, brisk walk can help you refocus and find a sense of peace, among other things. When you exercise, you tend to breathe more deeply and your feel-good endorphins kick in. When it comes down to it, almost any exercise will work. Pick your favorite exercise from yoga to jogging and anything in between to get started.
Talk to Yourself
Yep, you heard me – talk to yourself. When you worry or feel anxious about something, talk to yourself. You may not want to do it out loud depending on where you are. 😉 When you feel stressed, repeating an encouraging phrase or a few fun words may change your mindset.
My mom repeats, “This too shall pass.” My aunt says, “With God, all things are possible.” As a young child, my mom taught me about repeating fun words like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” or “snicklefritz.” Say the fun words faster and faster can help. Tongue twisters work well too, especially if you are doing them out loud with a friend.
Find the Humor
When you feel all keyed up or overwhelmed, take time out for a good laugh! Read or tell some new jokes. Watch a funny video or full-length movie, whatever you need! Laughter helps to reduce the “stress” hormones as well as increase the “happy” hormones (endorphins.) The next time you feel like pulling your hair out because you’re so stressed, pull out your favorite “funny.”
Of course, if you had time to rest, you wouldn’t be so stressed, right? Truthfully, though, getting a good night’s sleep is very important to helping your body and mind cope with stress. For teens, this could be up to nine or nine and a half hours of sleep a night. The more stressed you are, the more rest you need. Get to bed at a reasonable hour. Although a full night’s sleep is best, in a pinch, you may be able to use short power-naps to help you get through short-term stressful events.
Teens and parents of teens are generally under a lot of stress on any given day. Try out a few of these stress relief tips for teens and parents of teens. Let us know which ones work best for you! If you have other ideas that might help, share them in a comment. We would all appreciate it! 😉
If you are feeling overwhelmed, check out the latest parenting class which focuses on Gaining Your Child’s Cooperation While Building Their Confidence and Competence and Keeping your Calm.