It’s a fact of life, whether the stress comes from school, friends, or home, your teen will experience stress.  The good news is there are simple steps to help your teen manage stress.  Below are five life hacks for teens to help relieve stress.

  1. Get moving
    Many teens are involved in sports or other physical activities. Exercise is a proven method for relieving stress.  The brain releases endorphins into the body, a natural way to relieve stress.  The challenge is that when teens feel stressed, they don’t really feel like getting up and exercising.   There may be different forms of physical activity your teen prefers to use to clear their head.  Be creative.  Take advantage of your teen’s interests and talents; suggest activities that you know your teen may like such as dance or music class.
  2. Music
    The soothing power of music is well-established as an effective method for stress management.  Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on your teen’s mind and body.
  3. Give them a break
    Teens generally have so much on their plates.  Once in a while, it’s okay to take a break.   Encourage your teen to relax, put on comfy clothes, and lounge around a little.  When so much is on their minds, they tend to be on overload.  The chores, hustle and bustle, and obligations of everyday life will still be there tomorrow.  It’s alright to give your teen permission to happily rest up and be ready for the next day’s challenges.
  4. Sleeping
    8½ - 9 hours of sleep is the prime amount of time for teens to rejuvenate.  Relieving the pressure of brain activity helps them to rest their minds while also renewing their physical bodies.   Of course, that is easier said than done.  Come up with strategies to help your teen get the rest they need.   Have your teen set aside quiet time before bed every night.  He or she should use this time for calm and enjoyable activities that allows the mind and body to relax.  TV watching, computer gaming, any screen time (mobile devices), exercising, or heavy studying should not be part of quiet time.
  5. Friends
    Being with friends can be a positive interaction for teens struggling with stress.  Friends can often understand more about your teens everyday stressors, making it easier to communicate what is really bothering them.  Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others.  Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over.  Participate in activities that involve other families and give your teen an opportunity to meet and connect with new people.

Don’t ignore the problem
Teenagers face a host of pressures; it isn’t always easy to differentiate between normal stress and depression.  Consider how long the symptoms have been going on, how severe they are, and how different your teen is acting from his or her usual self.  If you suspect you’re seeing signs of a problem, trust your instincts.  Don’t wait and hope the symptoms go away.   Remember, you’re not in it alone; there are many resources to assist you.  For more information, contact the Community Counseling Program on your local installation.