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Navigating Teenage Stress

First things first – stress is normal

First things first – stress is normal. Everyone from adults to children experiences stress and it’s actually an evolutionary function that serves to protect you, like your body’s natural alarm system! Stress is what helps give you that push to handle tough situations. A little bit of it can keep you more alert, more aware, and more energised to tackle challenges.

But when does stress go from helpful to unhelpful?

Well, the answer lies in how much you’ve got on your plate. Teens have a lot to juggle, from schoolwork to friends and family to relationships. Not to mention how everyone is now online, posting on TikTok, scrolling through Instagram, and chatting on Discord. That comes with its own set of stressors where you’re constantly exposed to what others are doing and more prone to make comparisons.

The more you’re balancing on your plate, the less time you may have to relax. This is when stress can build up and make you feel very overwhelmed. But stress isn’t just a mind thing; it can affect how you feel and act too. Physically, you can get headaches, feel exhausted, have a lot of trouble sleeping or concentrating, and may even feel like you can’t breathe properly. Psychologically, you’re more quick to anger, extra anxious or fearful, have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself, or even feel disinterested in the things that normally were fun to do. Altogether, it can really mess with your mental health.

Everyone responds to stress differently, but there are common signs to watch out to see if you’re managing okay. Ask yourself–are you feeling more anxious than usual? Is it hard to concentrate? Do you feel like your sleep schedule is all over the place? If so, it may be time to hit that pause button and focus on your well-being. Remember, you’re not alone and everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time. Here are some easy things you can try to reduce your stress:

1. Take breaks 🏖️

Whether it’s watching YouTube, gaming, creating art, or eating cafe food, make (and protect!) the time to do it. This is an important part of self-care!

2. Move more! ⛹️‍♂️

Physical activity doesn’t mean running ten laps around the track. Clear your mind by staying active with the small stuff. It can be as simple as walking through the park, going dancing, or even playing badminton with some friends.

3. Time management 🕒

Organise the things you need to do and set realistic goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Rank your tasks in order of importance, find a place without distractions, and give yourself ample time to complete them.

4. Talk about it 💬

Share your feelings and worries with a friend, family member, or counsellor to lighten the load!

Being a teen isn’t always a smooth ride, but guess what? You’re learning and growing every day. Stress might knock on your door, but remember that you are in control. With the right tools and support cheering you on, just take a deep breath and know that you can overcome it.