10 Tips for Young Mothers with the Holiday Blues

The winter holiday season for most people is a fun time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends. The holiday season may seem more challenging for a young mother. The busyness of the season can bring up feelings of anxiety, stress and sometimes even sadness or depression.


When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. It is important to take time for yourself in the midst of the chaos. You need to try and prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll in the past.

 

Try these 10 tips to help prevent the anxiety, mild depression, and stress associated with the holiday season:

 
1. Make reasonable expectations for the holiday season. Set realistic goals for yourself. Be sure you are not taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. It is important to pace yourself. Don’t compare yourself to the people you see on social media. You want to have fun with your kids and make the season memorable for them, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make every holiday craft you find on Pinterest or attend every holiday event.

 
2. This season has so many events taking place that it is near impossible to do them all. To help make the holiday tasks more manageable, make a list and prioritize the important activities. Think about what is most important to you and your family, and be realistic about what you can and cannot do.

 
3. Don’t focus so much energy into just one day (Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, for example). It can be draining. Enjoy the present and live each day “in the moment.” The stress of the season really only falls on the parent. To kids it is pure magic. Take a minute to breathe and watch your child as they watch a holiday movie and sip on hot cocoa or the wonder in their eye when they see those holiday lights- that is what it’s all about. Also, avoid setting yourself up for disappointments and sadness by not comparing today with “the good ole days” of your past.

 
4. If you are lonely, try volunteering your time to help others. While you are there reach out and make new friends with other volunteers. Feed My Starving Children is a great organization that is often in search of volunteers and they welcome young helpers as well. You could volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

 
5. There is no doubt about it, this time of year the purse strings are a little tight. Find holiday activities that are free to enjoy with your child(ren), such as looking at holiday decorations, drinking hot cocoa and watching holiday movies, or watching the winter weather, whether it’s a raindrop or a snowflake to help you stay in the holiday spirit. Children really find such joy in these things, which in turn warms your heart as well.

 
6. Spend some time with supportive and caring people. Go out for a cup of coffee, get together and make some holiday crafts, whatever it is you enjoy doing, and let off some steam. Talk your frustrations out.

 
7. Contact a distant relative or a long lost friend to spread some holiday cheer. It always feels good to know that people are thinking about us. Bringing them a little holiday joy will in turn bring you some joy as well.

 
8. Don’t try and handle it all yourself if you don’t have to. Let others share the responsibilities of the holiday tasks.

 
9. Make time for yourself. Everyone needs a little space to breathe, even this time of year. Go for a walk, meditate, read a book, or whatever it is that relaxes you.

 
10. Keep an eye on your holiday spending. After the holidays are over and the bills come in, the effects of your overspending can lead to more stress and even depression. Maybe start planning ahead for the years to come. Start a holiday savings and put some money away in the months leading up to the holidays so they aren’t such an overwhelming expense.

 

If the symptoms are too much to bear alone, and none of the tips above have been helpful, counseling and/or support groups can be of benefit. There is no harm in asking for help.

5 Ways for Young Moms to Cope with Stress

Life is full of stressors. These stressors can be found in both our personal lives and at our workplaces, and as a young mother they may seem more prevalent in your life then in that of your child-less friends. Even though you might not realize it, these stressors could be impacting your overall health.

Young Mother overwhelmed by her kids

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. They also state that stress can not only affect your body but also your thoughts, your feelings and your behavior. As a mother you know you cannot afford any down time for illness. So thankfully, if you are able to recognize these common stress symptoms, then you can get a jump on managing them.

Common Effects of Stress on Your Body

• Sleep problems (with children, babies especially, who can afford any more sleep issues?)
• Stomach upset
• Muscle pain or tension
• Headaches
• Fatigue
• Chest pain

Common Effects of Stress on Your Mood

• Sadness/Depression
• Restlessness
• Lack of motivation and/or focus
• Anger/Irritability
• Anxiety

Common Effects of Stress on Your Behavior

• Angry outbursts (yelling at your child for silly reasons then feeling guilty later)
• Undereating or overeating
• Social withdrawal
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Use of tobacco

Many of these possible negative health consequences can be reduced by finding healthy and positive ways to manage stress as it occurs. Here are five things you can try to help reduce your stress levels.

1. Exercise
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness as well as physical fitness, and it can reduce stress. They state that studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. Basically, when your body feels better, so does your mind. The ADAA goes on to say that for the biggest benefits of exercise you should try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.

Purchase a jogging stroller for your younger children and set a time during the day to go for a run or brisk walk. When/if your child is older they can join you on their bike or scooter, or even run/walk along with you. In the summer many public pools offer swimming classes that you can take with your baby/toddler or an open swim for only a couple of dollars per person. You could even play catch or shoot hoops with your child, or be more involved in their play at the park instead of sitting on the bench to get in a little more exercise.

2. Loosen Up
You may notice that when you are stressed your whole body tightens up. This is because your body feels the impact that stress has on your brain’s many nerve connections. Meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, and bubble baths are a great way to help your body unwind a little. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress.”

As a mother, a little alone time once in a while goes a long way. Arrange for someone to watch your child(ren) for an hour or so at least once every few weeks to take some time to unwind. Go to the spa and get a massage, or get your hair done at your local salon. Take the time to sit in a warm bath and wash your worries away. When you can’t be alone, include your child. Teach them to meditate and breathe, or purchase a yoga for children video that you can do together. Learning to relax now will only benefit your child(ren) in the future.

3. Talk it Out
One of the best tools a person has for managing stress is his or her social network. Share what’s going on with someone close to you. Talking face to face works best, but over the phone is okay too. Try and avoid texting or emails when reaching out, as it is harder to read reactions that way. Sometimes talking about what is bothering you will give you a new perspective on the situation, and whomever you are communicating with may have some helpful insight on how to deal with the situation. If nothing else you will let off some steam. The APA recommends that the person whom you talk to is someone you trust and you feel can understand and validate you. It may not alleviate your stress if you share your woes with someone who can be considered a stressor in your life.

4. Laugh
We have all heard that “laughter is the best medicine,” and in a way it’s true! According to WebMD, a good belly laugh will lower cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boost brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. So maybe when you find someone to talk it out with (see above), choose someone who knows how to make you laugh out loud. Including your child in this can be very therapeutic for both of you. Put on your favorite sitcom or funny movie or read your favorite comics together.

5. Take Care of Yourself
Mothers are always putting themselves in last place. They tend to put their husband’s or significant other’s and children’s care before their own. It is important to remember that you take care of yourself as well. You should try eating nutritious meals regularly, and limit your intake of foods that are high in caffeine and sugar – as these can aggravate stress. Also, make sure that you are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Good nutrition and a good night’s sleep will help provide you with the energy you need to combat stress and take on the day.

Every person handles stress differently. What works well for one person may not work as well for another when it comes to stress management. It may take some experimenting and time to find out what works best for you personally. It may be one of these things, or it may take all of them, and that is okay. The only wrong way is to do nothing at all.

If you are still feeling stressed and don’t know where to turn, it is okay to seek help from a professional. They may be able to provide you with the tools and information that you need to help you cope through the difficult times.

11 Ways to Maintain a Positive Work Environment

As the weather drops in Arizona, the urge to play can grow. We want to go out and enjoy the day; no one wants to be stuck indoors. As we grow a little stir crazy, maintaining a positive work attitude can be more stressful than it was before.


To help you keep your work environment positive take a look at this list of 11 simple ways to handle the day until you can play.

1. Wake up early enough to get ready without rushing. Starting your day in a rush and stressed out impacts your whole day. Starting the day relaxed will help you stay relaxed later.
2. Plan your day. When you look at what you need to accomplish in a day, you might feel a little overwhelmed. Try breaking your work down into smaller tasks. When you do this, the list won’t seem so bad, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you see all that you have checked off of your list.
3. Avoid people that suck up your time. The longer you talk about your co-workers cat, the less time you have for your projects, and you could fall behind. Recognizing where your time is wasted in the day and eliminating those obstacles will make for a more productive and less stressful workweek.
4. Take small breaks periodically. If you work at a desk, move your body and stretch for a minute or two. Get a drink of water or eat a healthy snack. Almonds are a great choice and offer a little energy boost.
5. Work on improving your time management and communication skills. Higher-ups love efficient and articulate employees, and that in turn makes things easier on you.
6. Don’t over commit and don’t over promise. Yes it looks good when you volunteer for extra projects, but will you look good in the end? If you pile too much on your plate you are likely to turn in less than fantastic work, and lose your cool in the process.
7. Recognize your stressors at work and set up a plan to work through them.
8. Keep your workspace organized.
9. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep before work, according to the National Sleep Foundation, that is around 7 – 9 hours for adults ages 18 – 25. Eat healthy foods that will keep you energized throughout the day and drink plenty of water. Try to stay away from eating only high sugar snacks that spike your blood sugar, mix in a little protein for longer lasting energy.
10. Recognize that not everything is in your control and realize that sometimes you may just need to learn to “go with the flow.” Avoid being reactive in situations and keep a cool head. When you let go a little, a weight is truly lifted off of your shoulders.
11. Bring your sense of humor with you. Yes you have a job to do, but at appropriate times it is important to be able to laugh. Laughter is, after all, good for you.

5 Signs Your Teen’s Stress Level Is Too High

The American Psychological Association has found that high levels of stress are extremely common among teenagers.

stressed teen student

The APA also reports that school is the number one stress factor for teenagers. Stress unmanaged can quickly turn into depression if your teen doesn’t have healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. Here are 5 signs your teen’s stress levels are too high and might need advice on how to better cope.

 

  1. Your teen is sick a lot

Complaining of a headache or stomachache a lot may be a sign of stress, especially if it coincides with the days before tests or other big school events, or if your teen is using health complaints to get out of going to school. Chronic pain could be a sign of something more serious, but as long as a doctor has proclaimed them physically healthy, physical complaints are often stress-related. Stress also reduces your immune system, so getting colds or flus often can also be a sign of high stress levels.

 

  1. Your teen is irritable and hostile

Being irritable and hostile with family members is a sign that your teen is not coping healthily with stressors. Just like adults, when a teen is easily frustrated or stressed by small problems that normally would not affect them, it may mean their stress levels are higher than normal and they are having trouble coping with small problems. Teens also have a tendency to lash out at family members when they are stressed out.

 

  1. Your teen isolates him/herself

A loss of interest in socializing, either with family or with friends, is a sign that your teen is having trouble coping healthily with problems. A loss of interest in activities and isolating oneself are also signs of depression, so it may be time to talk to your teen about stress and coping mechanisms.

 

  1. Your teen has nervous habits

Unmanaged stress can lead to anxiety and anxious habits like chewing on fingernails or hair or tapping feet. Watch for nervous habits to see if they are related to stressful events in your teen’s life.

 

  1. Your teen has turned to alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs

Many teens who have not developed healthy coping strategies are tempted by alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs as ways to deal with stress. Talk to them about finding healthier ways to cope with anxieties and stressors that will help them throughout their lives.

 

If your teen is developing these unhealthy behaviors, it may be time to get professional help. Counseling can teach your teen healthy coping behaviors that will benefit them for the rest of their life. If you’re not sure about counseling, talk to your teen about healthy ways to cope with stress and watch for signs that his or her stress levels are unhealthily high.

 

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How to Cope with Stress During the First Year of College

College is a time when young adults are especially prone to stress, but this is especially true when you’re a freshman.

Young Man Studying At Night

For one, it may be the first time for you to be out on your own and taking care of yourself.  Moving to a dorm, meeting new people, and just learning to navigate the college life may cause enough stress to make any freshman want to climb in bed, pull up the covers, and never come out! Academic pressures can also create stress. College professors are not as lenient and as helpful as high school teachers and in some classes your final grade in the class may be based on just the final exam!  Talk about pressure! All of this stress is a natural part of the college experience. The key is to learn good coping mechanisms.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stress can be beneficial by helping people develop coping and adaptation skills. However, when stress is severe enough to impair your daily life and self-care, it can become a problem.

Is Your Stress Out of Control?

It’s natural to be anxious before taking a test or turning in a big assignment, but these feelings shouldn’t rule your life. The CDC warns that if you find yourself having physical reactions to stress such as headaches, back pains, stomach problems, or insomnia, it may be a sign that your stress has reached critical levels and you need to get some help.

Managing Stress

Especially during peak times of stress, it is very important to take care of yourself. Don’t let the fear of a poor grade on an assignment keep you up all night perfecting a project or studying. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and getting plenty of exercise are all just as important as your academic performance.

Being physically healthy will help you maintain your mental health as well. Along the lines of mental health, give yourself a break now and then. Do things for fun and be social. Let yourself have a night off from studying. You shouldn’t have to kill yourself to get good grades. If you find you can’t maintain a healthy outlook on school or life, it may be time to talk to a counselor or at least a trusted friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, your friends are dealing with similar feelings.

Drugs and Alcohol

One of the main coping mechanisms many college students partake in as a way to deal with stress are drugs and alcohol. While they may help temporarily, these substances will lead to even more stress. Even if the night itself doesn’t cause stress for legal or emotional reasons, the alcohol takes a physical toll on your body, making it harder to take care of yourself, maintain physical health, and maintain your academic performance that has you stressed to begin with. Just because others choose to live a certain way and make it seem “normal” or expected, doesn’t mean you have to join them. Take responsibility for your own health and make your own choices.

Always remember, if you feel in danger in any way or have thoughts of suicide, reach out to someone who can help you. A good place to start is the Youth Mental Health Line that can be reached at 1-888-568-1112.

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The Truth About Teens and Stress

Being a teenager is a stressful time. Puberty, school, and social pressures have a big impact on many teens’ mental health, and many develop anxiety disorders.

education and home concept - stressed student girl with books

According to the American Psychological Association, high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms are ingrained in our culture. The APA also reports that school is the most common source of stress for teens. Developing coping mechanisms is very important for teens to manage their stress and anxiety so it doesn’t negatively affect their mental and physical health.

 

Get enough sleep

Teen’s schedules can make it difficult to get enough sleep. Between busy school, after-school activity, social, and part-time job schedules, many teens don’t have much time to relax or sleep. It’s important to make having a regular bedtime a priority. If necessary, watch less TV or engage in less social media and internet browsing. Don’t drink caffeine late at night, and try to get some exercise in the early evening so it is easier to get to sleep. A healthy sleep schedule will make a huge impact on the overall stress you feel.

 

Engage in positive self-talk

The way you talk to yourself impacts you in ways you can’t even imagine. Often, we are our own biggest bullies, and we don’t even realize it. Beating yourself up over every mistake, holding yourself to impossible standards, and constantly comparing yourself to others will negatively affect your mental health in many ways, making it harder to succeed, harder to deal with stress, and harder to enjoy life. Watch how you talk to yourself and make sure it is positive whenever possible. Negative self-talk is one of the biggest causes of self-esteem issues and eating disorders. In fact, according to NPR, neurologists have discovered that positive self-talk can help you like your body more, perceive yourself more positively, and even make you more successful.

 

Open up

Talk about stress and emotional issues you are having with friends, family, and anyone you feel comfortable with. Often, the most stressful part about being a teen is feeling like you are alone. Opening up will help you realize that everyone else is going through what you are, or has been through it before. Maybe they can even share some of their coping mechanisms with you that could help you through a tough time.

 

Sometimes the mental issues teens deal with are more than just stress. Anxiety disorders, depression, and thoughts of suicide are serious issues that affect teens every day. If you or someone you know needs professional help, don’t hesitate to get the help you need. No one has to go through these problems alone, and there are many resources available to help. Check out the CDC for some great resources for suicide prevention and mental health help.

 

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Is Your Social Media Account Causing Your Anxiety?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common disorder in the United States and affect 18% of the population. Anxiety is often related to social factors when found in teenagers and young adults.

If social media is causing you anxiety, it might be a good time to take a break. Photo credit: Bigstock.

If social media is causing you anxiety, it might be a good time to take a break. Photo credit: Bigstock.

 

Recently, links have been discovered between social media and anxiety, especially among college students. Is your anxiety caused by your social media account? Consider whether these factors are affecting you.

  1. You are trying to multi-task. Studies have found that in some users, it is not the social media account itself that is causing anxiety, but the effort to multi-task, a symptom of anxiety itself. Individuals will open multiple browser tabs and attempt to research or complete too many tasks at once, which contributes to their overall anxiety. The social media tab gets added in as individuals also try to keep up with everything their friends are posting in addition to getting work or studying done.
  2. You feel anxious when you cannot access your account. You might be addicted to social media if your anxiety stems from not being able to access your account. Individuals with symptoms of addiction to social media find their anxiety levels rise if they are away from social media for long periods of time and begin worrying about missing what their friends are posting or invitations to events they may be missing. The fear of missing a post could be part of your problem.
  3. You check social media compulsively. Even if you have just checked your account, you find yourself logging in during a dull moment. This compulsive behavior is a symptom of an anxious personality. You may not necessarily be addicted to your social media account itself, but have formed a habit of filing every moment with a task that often happens to be checking in with social media.
  4. You often feel depressed after checking social media. Especially in adolescents, social media has been found to cause anxiety and depression. Children are exposed to everything their friends are doing and often are left feeling left out and as if they do not have a social life comparable to their friends’ social lives. They also compare themselves to the way their peers represent themselves online, which may or may not be entirely accurate, and develop self esteem issues.
  5. You try to use social media for your social needs. Social media also provides users with a vague notion of a social life and individuals often turn to their social media account for their social needs, only to be left unsatisfied. This is especially common in teenagers and young adults who suffer from social anxiety and find it difficult to interact with peers in person. Social media may give them a semblance of social interaction and it becomes easy to rely on it for their social needs, but it is not a satisfactory replacement for a genuine social life.

If you find yourself or your child affected by any of these symptoms, it may be time to take a break from social media.  If the thought of that makes you anxious, in the least, we recommend you “unfriend” those people who are causing you the most anxiety.  

However, if you can’t unfriend people and you find that you are addicted to checking social media an excessive amount and especially if after checking, you find yourself depressed, it is well worth it to disable your account for a while and see if your anxiety symptoms improve.  We bet they will!

 

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8 Natural Remedies for Teen Depression

Teens go through a lot of changes and have a lot of pressures put on them from different groups. It is not uncommon to have low periods or feelings of depression during this time. According to Mental Health America, if you are experiencing a loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy, irritability, tiredness, and prolonged sadness you can’t break out of, you may be experiencing depression. Fortunately, there are small, natural changes you can make in your daily habits that can make a big difference and help alleviate the symptoms.

Mother comforts her troubled teenage daughter

Take Care of Your Body

1. Exercising is a great positive activity to keep your mind and body occupied. It also releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals, into your brain and will affect you immediately. In addition, exercising boosts self confidence, especially if your depression is related to body issues.

2. Making sure you are eating right and getting the right nutrients into your body is also essential to feeling well emotionally. Eating well will help you feel better both physically and emotionally.

3. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night for teens and adolescents. A chronic lack of sleep can make it difficult to get through each day, difficult to concentrate, and difficult to stay motivated.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

4. Make sure you are getting enough sunlight. Some people are more sensitive to light than others and get seasonal affective disorder, which means a lack of sunlight makes them depressed. This is most common in the winter months when daylight is scarce. It is especially important to get sunlight in the morning, because bright light in the morning helps keep your circadian rhythms in line with daylight hours. If it is too difficult to get true sunlight with your busy schedule, try using a “happy lamp” when you are home in the evenings, which is a light that mimics the effects of sunlight on the brain.

 

Take supplements

5. Getting the right nutrition is essential to maintaining mental and emotional health. Taking a multivitamin ensures your body is getting the nutrients it needs to function healthily. B vitamins are specifically linked to alleviating depression symptoms, especially folic acid and vitamin B6. A vitamin D deficiency could be part of the problem. Related to seasonal affective disorder, not getting enough sunlight could result in a lack of vitamin d and depression. Taking a D vitamin daily could remedy this problem.

 

Find Healthy Outlets

6. Talk to a trusted adult friend. Feeling heard and understood is a human necessity. Talking an adult you trust and know will understand will help you feel less isolated and alone. Your friend may also have some good advice about what you are going through, or have been through something similar themselves.

7. Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings will help you make sense of what you are going through and can also be a great outlet to work through the thoughts and emotions you are not comfortable sharing with others. Through your writing, you may also start to notice patterns and realize what you are doing differently on days you feel better versus what you are doing on days you tend to feel down.

8. Try taking a break from social media. Social media can cause a negative cycle of depression. People, especially teens, need authentic human contact and companionship. Social media not only provides a pseudo social environment that does not meet these needs, but it can cause teens to compare their social lives to the lives their peers present that may or may not be accurate.

 

The important thing to remember if you are having symptoms of depression is that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you. If you are experiencing serious depression that inhibits your daily living, it is important to get help from a counselor who specializes in working with teens. Everyone needs help sometimes, and working with a counselor could be the jump start you need to get back on the right track.

 

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7 Ways Parents Can Help Teens Deal with Holiday Stress

teen holiday stress

Follow these tips if you want to help your teen not feel stressed this holiday season. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Most parents know that the holiday season that begins at Halloween and stretches all the way into the New Year is stressful. What many of us don’t realize is that as our stress level increases, so does the stress level of those around us, including our teenagers. Unfortunately, when we are stressed out we are also less likely to notice the signs of stress in ourselves and others. This can produce a double whammy for our teens that are experiencing more stress and getting less support for managing that stress then they might at other times of the year.

But there are things you can do to help keep the stress level of everyone in your family, especially your teens, from getting stressed out during the holiday season.

  1. Manage Your Stress

The most important thing you can do to help your teens is to manage your own stress. Not only does this help lower the contact stress they get from you, it also helps ensure you will notice the signs of stress in those around you. Managing your own stress level also helps model healthy stress management techniques for your teens.

  1. Simplify Your Schedule

One of the things that can create a lot of stress is over-scheduling. Between shopping and parties and decorating and family and travel… well, there is a lot going on. Limiting your commitments and simplifying your schedule will lower your stress and make it easier to enjoy those things you do choose to do.

  1. Notice the Signs

Pay attention to how your teens are handling the holidays and look for the signs of stress like headaches, trouble sleeping, angry outbursts, or unusual moodiness. Spotting these signs is key to providing the support your teens need when their stress levels are high.

  1. Understand the Impact of Big Changes

Major life events like a divorce or the loss of a loved one are difficult but they can become even more difficult during the holidays. If your teen has experienced this kind of life changing event, be aware that they may be more stressed or struggle with stress more this year.

  1. Share, But Don’t Overshare

If there are things going on in your lives that are making the holiday season more stressful than normal like financial difficulties or a separation, be honest with your teens but remember they aren’t adults yet. Keep your sharing at the appropriate level and reassure them that while things are different or even difficult, you will get through it together.   Don’t burden them with your adult problems by oversharing or using them as a source of emotional support.

  1. Make Moving a Priority

The days are shorter and it gets dark so early that it can be tempting to skip active family time. However, this can actually exacerbate any issues you are having with stress because exercise helps alleviate stress. Make sure everyone keeps moving.

  1. Do Something for Someone Else

The act of giving can do wonders for your stress level and helps keep the focus of the holiday season on giving, thankfulness, and blessings. Make it a point to volunteer, give back, and help others during the holidays and you will decrease your family’s stress while helping many others.

 

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3 Tips for Teen Stress Relief

stress

Here are 3 tips to help your teen manage their stress (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

It is tough to be a teenager and the demands of today’s world don’t make it any easier.  The most common things that can cause stress in a teenager’s life, as outlined by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, include academic demands, family problems, high expectations, overly packed schedules, safety concerns, peer relationships, and family financial instability.  With so many sources of stress it is no wonder that teens, who may not have developed the skills they need to manage their stress on their own, can easily become overwhelmed.

Signs of Stress

The first step is being able to recognize that stress is building so that you can take steps to manage and alleviate it before it causes problems.  Here are some of the most common signs of stress in teenagers.

  • You are always running late, forgetting what day it is, and losing things like your backpack or your keys.
  • You are always tired, but have trouble sleeping.
  • You never eat at a table or even sitting down and you always rush through meal time.
  •  You are constantly getting sick and have headaches a lot.
  • You are often doing three things at once, but you rarely finish anything, including your sentences.
  • You find yourself eating all the time.
  • You feel nervous and jumpy and have a short temper.
  • Nothing seems like fun and you feel like you are constantly on the verge of bursting into tears.

Stress Relief Strategies

Much of the time, we begin to experience the signs of stress above when the stress in our lives keeps building up without any relief.  The key to managing it better is to notice it is happening and then take action to help immediately alleviate that build-up of stress in the short-term while also considering how to lessen your stress over the long term.  Here are some teen-proven strategies for doing both.

1.     Listen to Music

Music not only soothes the savage beast, it is also a sure-fire way to decrease your stress level quickly.  It may be listening to your favorite song, to a song that soothes and calms you, or to a loud, raucous track that provides you with the most relief.  When the pressure starts mounting and the signs above begin to show, pop in your ear buds and let the sounds soothe your stressed out soul.

2.     Chill Out

Sometimes we get stressed out because we are focused so intently on doing all the things we have to do like school, work, chores, etc. that we forget to stop and smell the roses.  Taking a day or even an afternoon to just chill out with your friends playing video games, watching movies, or shooting hoops can help restore some of that balance and fight off the effects of stress.

3.     Get Physical

One of the most effective ways of burning off stress is to do something physically active like exercising, playing a sport, or even just going for a walk.  Get moving in the short term to alleviate the symptoms and then make sure you are planning time in your schedule to be active everyday to help keep the stress from building back up again.

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