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How to Manage Teenage Stress: A Guide for Students

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By Aja Bradley 

What's causing you the most stress right now? Is it school? Homework? Extracurriculars? Relationships? Jobs?

How are you managing your stress? Is it effective?

Many students experience significant amounts of stress throughout the school year. There is pressure to perform well in school, work part-time, pass state exams, apply for college, and also navigate the social problems that come with being a high schooler. Sometimes all it takes is a short break to reset from a stressful situation. However, other times stress may seem overwhelming, debilitating, and unmanageable. Unfortunately, unmanaged stress can take a toll on students' grades, relationships, and overall health.

Here are some ways you can tackle your stress more effectively:

1. Identify your stress 

Sometimes our bodies know when we're feeling stressed before we actually do. Increased acne (forehead, nose, or chin), feelings of irritability, trouble sleeping, feeling anxious or depressed, and heaviness in your chest are just a few signs that you're experiencing stress.

By identifying the source of stress, you can better understand how to relieve it. Feeling overwhelmed with school work? Maybe it's time to break the assignments down into smaller pieces and incorporate mind breaks in your homework routine. Did you just have a fight with your boyfriend or girlfriend and feel uneasy about what to do to fix it? Maybe you need to take time out to speak with a trusted friend or adult before re-approaching the situation. Or perhaps your mental health is getting the best of you and you can't manage. Turning to a therapist or utilizing coping skills can help get you through it.

2. Get enough rest

Busy schedules can lead to late nights and a lack of sleep. When students are sleep-deprived, they may notice they are easily distracted, more likely to make errors, lack motivation, have low energy, and are less productive. Students should aim to get at least eight hours of sleep each night to feel more energized and ready to take on the day.

3. Get organized

Being organized is being in control. Creating a calendar or agenda will keep your task organized and due dates fresh in your mind. Adequately storing papers or other valuable things will eliminate last-minute scrambling to find something important. Planning ahead or setting reminders can help you manage your time better, giving you more than enough room for work and fun.

4. Prioritize making time for yourself

Self-care is anything you do to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Exercising, meditating, sleeping, journaling, praying, and therapy are all forms of self-care.

Self-care can also include:

  • Engaging in a hobby/interest
  • Learning a new hobby
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Cleaning your room
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Buying yourself a gift
  • Practicing affirmations and gratitude
  • Showing yourself compassion

It goes without saying that being a teenager is hard. At times, it may feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. This is why it is important for you to know how to take care of yourself and manage stress effectively. These are just a few of the many tips that can help. I encourage you to practice at least one of them next time you're feeling stressed.

Follow Pathways on Instagram at @pathwayssbys or on Facebook.

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