Life can be stressful. Navigating school, home, and friends – maybe even a job on top of that; it can easily seem like you have 25 hours’ worth of things to do in your 24 hour day. Not to mention the nine-and-a-half hours of sleep experts say all teenagers need. Even just trying to think about doing everything can get a person stressed, and then you stress about being stressed, and you end up stressing more than actually doing things, so you feel even more stressed because you are not doing what you need to.
Stress can be complicated, so it makes a lot of sense that most people seem to ignore it. However, ignoring stress can deteriorate health and ruin relationships, negatively affect school performance and even cause depression if not taken care of properly. Thankfully, there is something that can be done, and don’t worry – it’s not very complicated, so you don’t need to stress about this, too. So take a deep breath and relax; your stress should be gone soon. Below are nine things you can do throughout the day – starting from when you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep – to reduce your daily stress.
1. Wake up early
It might seem like waking up earlier would add stress to your life, but it can actually help eliminate it. When you sleep in as late as possible before going to school or work, you end up getting a little more sleep, but you have to rush to get ready in the mornings. Even waking up 10 minutes earlier can help reduce stress. It can give you some extra time to space out in the shower, or even sit down and eat breakfast. Waking up earlier can create a more relaxed morning and a less stressful day.
2. Be on time
Whether you are walking to the bus stop or driving to school, it pays to be on time. Running down the hallway to make it to class on time raises your stress level and makes it so you cannot focus on what you are supposed to be learning as well. So, show up to class a couple of minutes earlier, find a seat and relax a little. Take a couple of seconds to breath and get ready to think about those trigonometry formulas.
3. Talk to people about how you are feeling
If you are feeling stressed, don’t worry – you are not the only one. Everyone feels stressed every once in a while, so talk to your friends about it. They might have some really good advice, or they might just be really good listeners. You choose your friends for a reason. Find one you trust and let them know how you are feeling. Talking about what is going on can be a relief in itself, and who knows – maybe they are feeling stressed, too, and were too afraid to talk about it.
4. Make lunch an actual break
Everyone gets a lunch break. It can be easy to use the time to work on homework due later in the day or catch up on assignments you already missed. While this might help your grades a little, it greatly adds to your stress level. Don’t do any homework during lunch. Make sure your work is done the night before and take this time to relax. Talk to friends, play a game of pick-up basketball, or just sit and listen to music. Use the time to take care of yourself and make sure you are ready for the second half of your day.
5. Do something you love
Going to school and work are important, but they are not always fun. Make sure you have something fun to do. Join a sports team, try out for the school play, or play video games with your friends. Having something you really enjoy doing planned can make the not as fun things go by faster, and it allows you to decompress and forget about your worries for a little while.
6. Drink water and eat healthy snacks
While drinking enough water and eating snacks are just generally good ideas, they can also help reduce your stress. If your body is healthy and hydrated, you are able to get more done and at a more efficient rate. You will have more free time and you will feel better.
7. Be active
This is the same principle as the last one, if your body is healthy, your mind will follow suit. You don’t need to be a great athlete to be active and healthy. Walk somewhere instead of driving, take the stairs, or just stand more than you sit. There is a small caveat with this one: don’t be so active that you don’t have any time to rest. Moderation is key.
8. Pack your backpack before you go to sleep
This is a simple change that can make a big difference. It does not take that long to pack your backpack, but when you do it at night before you go to sleep you do not have to think about it in the morning. You can just get up, eat some breakfast, grab your bag and go. You do not have to run around the house looking for your books and assignments, because they are already in the right spot.
9. Get enough sleep
Sleep is important. Sometimes a simple solution to feeling stressed could be staying up later to do all your work. While this might work in the short term, it can really hurt in the long run. In order for the average teenager’s brain to process information and remember everything, it needs to get around 9 hours of sleep each night. The more sleep you get, the more you will remember and the less stress you will feel. Especially around test time, because your brain already did all the work for you while you were sleeping.
10. Disconnect on the weekends
Take a day each weekend and don’t think about school or work. Take some time for yourself and do what you want to. Read a book, relax with friends, go to the beach or on a hike. Do something you enjoy with people you like to be around, and recharge for the week to come.
With school coming to an end and all your final projects, papers, presentations, and exams just around the corner, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to get done. You are excited about the small amount of time left until summer, but at the same time you’re nervous because it feels like there is not enough time to get everything done. Panic sets in and stress begins to creep into your life. You feel tense, and your sleeping patterns may be way off.
Do not let stress take hold of your life these last few weeks of school. Instead, defeat the stress and have a smoother ending to your school year. How? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back with some easy tips for you to follow to be stress-less:
1) Dance it out
There is nothing like getting up out of your seat, turning up your favorite tunes, and shaking off the stress by dancing. Just stand up, and take a few moments to let it all out. Not only is it fun, but it also helps you relieve some of the tension that has built up in your muscles and it helps clear your mind. And if you are by yourself, you can dance as goofy as you want! If you’re with friends, turn it into a dance party!
2) Go for a walk
Summer is getting closer, and that means more sunny days are ahead. Go take a walk in the sunshine and warm weather. Don’t rush, but relax and take your time. Look at your surroundings, breathe in the clean air, listen to the sounds, and just pay attention to the little things and enjoy them. Don’t get so busy that you don’t notice the beauty in the little things in life.
3) Talk about it
Time to call your BFF or go to someone you trust and VENT. Sometimes that is all we need to see clearly through the cluttered mess that our lives turn into. Talk to someone and share what is stressing you out. Sometimes talking through things with someone helps you realize something you didn’t see before, and you get an outside perspective from someone else. Sometimes, all you need are words of encouragement and someone who can tell you, “You can do this!” So, don’t just sit there. Turn to someone and get your stress off your chest.
Take a few deep breaths in and out. When you are stressed, your breathing pattern actually changes as part of a “fight or flight” mode. Controlling your breathing helps you relieve some of the stress you have built up. Why do you think breathing is such a key component in yoga?
5) Go to bed earlier
You are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by staying up late into the night. Not only does less sleep have the potential to increase stress, it also lowers your performance level. High stress and bad performance is not a good combination. If it can wait another day, it can wait another day. Getting a good nights sleep will help your stress and help you be more efficient during your day as well.
6) Focus on what you can control
Sometimes we put so much on ourselves and some of those things are just out of our control. Make notes of the things you do have control over and write them down in a “to-do” list. Do not carry more than you need to.
7) Reminiscence about good times/laugh
Sometimes, when I have been working on homework and projects for a long time, I’ll take a break and go through my Facebook pictures. I’ll look through some old memories and good times with friends and family, and it brings a smile to my face. It helps to ease my mind and settle my thoughts. You can also watch some funny videos. Make sure to leave room for laughter in your day. It’s a good reminder that all is well and life is good.
8) Ask for a hug
I don’t know about you, but I love hugs. Friends will ask me how I am doing and I will sometimes respond with, “I just need a hug.” There is no better feeling than a tight hug from a close friend to help squeeze out some of the stress and remind me that I am loved and cared about.
9) Look for opportunities in life’s challenges
When we are presented with a challenge, like a paper or test, we tend to look at the negative side. “This paper is so long!” or “This test is going to be so hard!” We focus so much on the negative that we fail to see the positive in the work that we are doing. Why not make a list of the opportunities and good things you get out of the assignments you have?
Why smile? Because at the end of the day, everything will be okay and you will get through this. You have done it before and you can do it again. So, smile and remember you can do this and you are close to the finish line. Finish strong and stress-less.
What stresses you out?
I know that teens have a lot more on their plates then most adults think they do. You are worried about your grades, your cash flow, your friends, not making your parents too mad, your love life, and many more things. The Health Center states that stress that is not dealt with in teens can lead to a life time of being overstressed. Some immediate effects of stress are being sleepy, ill and unable to cope.
You are the only one that knows when your stress is too much. Half the battle is recognizing that so you can take steps to relieve your stress. Health Center recommends:
-getting regular sleep
-eating a healthy diet
-taking breaks when you need to
If none of these help then you may need to see your doctor to receive more help for your stress.