Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress
Updated: Jan 21
With everything that is going on in our lives right now, it is normal that you might feel a little stressed. Being inside, having online school, living with the fear of getting sick–all of these things are not what we expect out of everyday life. Stress can lead to being distracted, being triggered more easily, or just overall not having a good day. In this article, you will learn about healthy ways to deal with stress.
1. Stay connected with people.
Part of being a teenager is working on developing your social life and skills. I know it is hard to stay close with people, but maintaining healthy relationships with others is important for our mental health. It is very easy to say, “Hey, let’s hangout sometime,” and then not do it. When making plans with your friends, make them specific: set a date and time, what you will be doing, and any guidelines to follow if meeting in person. If your plan is specific, you will be more likely to follow through with it.
Working out regularly can help relax your body and get your mind moving. It will improve your mood as well. Go for a run, a walk, a bike ride, swim some laps–anything that will get you physically active. If you are not able to leave your house, here is a website that has a bunch of great follow-along workout routines, requiring little or no equipment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of time; even a five minute run can help. You can also set weekly goals for yourself so that you will feel more motivated to exercise.
3. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness exercises have been shown to reduce stress hormone levels. High levels of stress hormones are responsible for increasing your risk of infection and other illnesses. Chair yoga is a simple and easy way to relax your body while sitting in your chair on Zoom. Meditation can also help if you are stressed. If you visit this link, it will bring you to a website called Breath Ball. Breath Ball is a free app that you can download on the Apple Store or Google Play. It is a focused breathing exercise that uses an expanding and contracting ball to slow down your breathing and heart rate. It is an efficient way to quickly relax your body and refocus your mind.
4. Make time for yourself.
With everything online, it’s really easy to just focus on school. This will only lead to you being more stressed. Take an occasional break. Set yourself a timer for doing homework and then stop when it’s up. Go for a quick walk, have a snack–something to give your mind a moment to relax. Along with taking breaks, make space for your hobbies. We’re spending so much time focusing on one thing that we stop doing other things we love. Give yourself the opportunity to do activities that make you happy, and to keep your mind off schoolwork or anything else that may be bothering you.
5. Get enough sleep.
A good night’s sleep will ensure that you are more alert and aware and able to handle stress more easily. It gives your brain time to recharge and your body to rest. Stress especially affects teens’ sleep. Many teenagers do not get enough sleep, because of stress, resulting in even more the next day, from feeling sluggish and lazy to being distracted and irritable. Teenagers need at a minimum, eight hours of sleep. If you are feeling stressed, take some of the tips above. Do some yoga before bed to help your body relax and prepare you for a night’s rest. Also, turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. Blue light that comes from screens affects your brain and makes it hard to sleep.
6. Watch panda cam.
Now, this one may seem a bit odd at first, and it’s not scientifically based, but trust me on this one. The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. has a giant panda cam that shows a livestream of what the pandas are up to at the moment. Although they are sleeping most of the time, they are still really cute and I can say that if you visit the link, there’s a good chance of having your stress levels reduced.
Stress is a hard thing to deal with and everyone has to go through it at some point. However, if you remember to do one or two of these tips every day, you will most definitely like the result.
Picture Source: Chair Yoga, Clifton Forge School of Arts