In the first part of this blog, we looked at how chronic stress is beginning to impact teens in high school. Earlier this month, The Atlantic Magazine addressed this issue in their article “High Stress High School”.
Teens are under increasing pressure/stress related to academic performance, intense focus on college applications/decisions, standardized test score performance and balancing their daily activities.
In our previous post, we identified signs of chronic stress in teens and here are a few ways teens can cope with stress in a healthy manner. Developing healthy coping skills can be a lifelong goal, but parents can encourage and model good coping skills for their teens, right when they need it most!
- As much as possible, build in a sleep schedule for your teen. Teens need between 9-11 hours per night of sleep to aid in their adolescent brain development, and a consistent sleep schedule is a great stress reliever!
- Limit access to smartphones/laptops/tablets. When the entire family ‘unplugs’ it gives everyone a break from being so easily accessed and connected to the world around them.
- Get outside and be active! Being active doesn’t have to mean a long run—it can be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood after dinner or an easy hike in the woods. The idea is to do something dramatically different than normal activities (sitting in class, doing homework, surfing the Internet) that involves physical movement.
- Find activities that incorporate and challenge your senses. Chronic stress gets us to intensely focus on one thing, and we generally buckle down and complete the task. Activities that challenge our senses give our brains a break from thinking analytically and allow us to experience the world around us. A few ideas:
? Take a long bubble bath.
? Bake cookies or breads with the family.
? Sit outside in the sun.
? Place essential oils or scented candles around the house
Sarah (Brookings) Connor, LPC
sconnor @ growcounseling.com