Often times, we think of stress as an “adult” situation. That’s mostly because, as adults, it’s harder for us to imagine that there could be real stress associated with what many of us remember as our carefree and youthful days. But if you stop to think back, the teen years can be incredibly stressful. Educational requirements, learning to navigate social and emotional complexity and the uncertainty of the future can all make a teenager enormously stressed. If you have a teenager in your life, take a moment to remember that they experience stress, too. Then prioritize some time to share these stress relief tips specifically for teens with them!
Sleep is Important
Not getting enough sleep and problems with insomnia are a national problem. This can be even more true for a stressed out teen. Late nights full of homework, televisions and computers in teen bedrooms that keep them awake and the speedy teenage brain cell all mean that teenagers don’t get enough sleep. One of the most important things that a young adult or teenager can do to help reduce his or her stress level is make sure that he or she is getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep per night. How can a teenager (or any person) do that? We love these seven tips for sleeping better from the Mayo Clinic and think this list is a great place to start.
Social Media (and Just Media) Can Be Bad for Your Stress Level
For many teens, there’s never been a world without a constant stream of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – these aren’t things that most teens just “check into” once a day. They’re integrated parts of their lives that create a constant stream of communication via the internet and wireless waves. If you’re an adult, step back and imagine what it would have been like in high school or middle school if you were never able to get away from the social structure of your peer group. Then imagine the stress that would cause. There are already many studies on how social media creates high levels of stress in teenagers. Take the time to share these studies with the teenager in your life and encourage them to create separation between their real lives and their social media lives. If that doesn’t work, do some parental enforcement of the amount of time allowed on social media!
On a similar note, noise clutter also causes stress. Help the teen in your life learn to shut off the television, music stream or other background noise once in a while. You’ll see his or her stress level drop!
The Outdoors Do Exist!
We don’t want to sound old and fuddy duddy when we say “Remember when kids played outside! Those were the days!” The truth, though, is that nature is a great stress reliever and the most popular activities among teenagers these days happen indoors. Encourage teenagers to get outside and release stress through both the great outdoors and physical activity. We’re not going to give a lecture on American kids, diet, activity and obesity. But it’s well known that physical activity reduces stress levels, and American kids aren’t getting enough physical activity. Tackle two birds with one stone by getting kids outdoors and active – you’ll improve their health and reduce their stress level.
Find Somebody to Talk To
Of course, the most important thing for any teen who’s feeling stressed is to find somebody to talk to, especially about how much is enough. That “somebody” may be a parent, a family friend, a counselor, or even a professional therapist. Teens experience the same level of stress that they always have, but social media and lifestyle changes in the current decade have made that stress more persistent than ever before. Of course if your teenager isn’t feeling any level of stress, then that may be a tiny bit of a problem and you want to motivate them! However, for most teenagers these days, stress can be overwhelming and not taken seriously enough as a physical, mental and emotional health risk. If the teenager in your life is clearly overly stressed out, be sure to help them find somebody to talk to about it (or be that person yourself!).
Have other ideas or tips on how to help teenagers de-stress? Comment below or like us on Facebook and post them there.
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Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: jo-h