Between the obligations of school, homework deadlines, tests, perhaps a part-time job, family and social responsibilities and pressures, along with physical and emotional development, the teen years can very much be a stressful time filled with disappointments, drama, and unmet expectations. This is of course is not to say it’s all bad: fun, friendships, self-discovery, learning, and personal growth, among many other positives, can be developed during the teen years as well.
However, there are certain steps teens can take to help from feeling overwhelmed or bogged down with everyday stress. The keys include establishing a balanced routine, eating well & getting enough exercise and sleep.
Some steps teens can take:
- Establish an optimal balance between schoolwork and fun. Both too much work or too much fun can cause stress as far as focusing too much on one can cause issues with the other. Many teens often think about the fun they could be having with friends if they weren’t bogged down with homework or a school project deadline. But conversely, spending too much time with friends and ignoring homework or studying for an upcoming test can cause stress as well. However, recognize that both schoolwork and friendships are important to overall to your personal development. A good idea is to try and “be here now”. When doing homework, just do homework. When with friends, be in the moment and have fun with them. If you manage your time wisely for both work and play, you’ll be able to enjoy both more, and both can be well-balanced parts of your life.
- Eat good foods. Without a doubt, what we eat can directly affect our energy levels and mood. Not that the occasional treat needs to be avoided, but balance again is key. Ice cream may be a good dessert but makes for a bad choice for dinner. Simple substitutions- maybe choosing a side salad instead of fries on occasion, or choosing baked chicken breast instead of bologna for a sandwich for lunch, can really help with mood and energy levels throughout your day.
- Get fresh air and exercise. It’s so important to work off stress and get some fresh air in order to renew yourself throughout the day.
- Get enough sleep. You may be surprised by how managing the time you spend online, on the phone, mindlessly scrolling, or watching tv can add to your quality of sleep. Maybe getting to bed an hour earlier each weeknight instead of doing these other activities can help you feel much more refreshed and awake in the morning, ready to take on the day.
- Time Management. A big key to achieving a good life balance to help prevent stress is to track your time and your due dates on a calendar or project ap so that nothing slips through the cracks forgotten. This can help you avoid procrastination, set time estimates and goals, identify when you may have some added free time, work towards deadlines, and also remind you of something to look forward to that is coming up.