How Can I Help
You: Can I help you with anything?
Them: No, Im ok. Thanks.
You: Alright, let me know.
I think weve all experienced this exchange before. Instead of asking if you can help, try asking how you can help. This rephrases the question and makes it easier for them to visualize different ways you could be there for them.
It also lets them know that youre willing to help in any way they need. If they need someone to switch their laundry, thats you. If they need someone to read over their project, thats you. If they need someone to get them ice cream, thats you.
Listen To Calming Music
Music is a hugely popular thing to do when youre feeling stressed.
Choose some of your favorite, preferably calming music to switch on and get lost in.
Its one of the best things to do to relieve stress and get yourself feeling better.
In fact, make an entire playlist of stress-busting music filled with your favorite artists that you can put on in the car, while youre on your walk, or just to listen to before you wake up.
If youre looking for calming music in particular, there are plenty of playlists online of music to help you stop stressing out.
Schools Got You Stressed Out Here Are Some Tips For Teens Parents And Schools
Problem: Teens who feel like theyre under constant academic pressure are at greater risk of developing depression or anxiety. Pushing teens to excel also can hurt self-esteem and increase sleep deprivation.
These are things that teens and parents can do right away to make the stress of school better come from a talk by Lisa Damour, a psychologist, educator and author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood and Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. She writes a monthly column on adolescence for the New York Times.
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Meet Up With A Friend
What are friends for besides helping us stop stressing about everything?
Social interaction is often a good thing when it comes to being stressed, as it can make us feel more normal and let us vent our frustrations out.
It also helps us turn our attention to other people instead of just our own hectic schedules.
Make plans to meet up with a friend that you trust and is a good listener, and make sure to fit it in where you can.
If youre stressed because your schedule is so busy and you cant find time to meet people, see if you can plan to hang out while doing something you already needed to do anyway like picking the kids up from school or even do something simple like your grocery shopping together.
Reach out for that human connection!
Support Your Teens Decisions
Allowing your teenager to make decisions and then supporting those decisions or being understanding of them even if they dont work out will most likely open the door for future conversations. This might also give you an opportunity to share your own opinions and advice. Stay involved but dont interfere.
Our teens will make mistakes just as we did when we were their age. If we constantly try to help our stressed teenagers avoid mistakes, they will miss out on valuable life lessons that will help them grow and acquire the tools needed to live in the world.
Tips To Help Teens Relieve Stress:
A teens capacity to deal with stress ranges from creating a detailed plan to alleviate stress to absolute inertia and everything in between.
Esme has found a way to manage her stress. Ive learned to stop what Im doing, and do some sort or exercise. Practicing yoga or going for a walk helps me feel better.
But if a teen cant figure out what to do, parents can and should help them. Parents can help their teens work through their stress by sharing the following tips:
Make A Schedule Of Worry
Oftentimes, when things are stressful in our lives, we feel like we need to worry about them all of the time in order to solve them.
Sometimes, that just isnt true.
Say Im worried about future results of a medical test. I can spend my whole day stressed about it, or I can say, okay, I am going to give myself 15 minutes to worry and stress about them at 10:00am, and then after that, no more.
Give yourself permission to bottle up some of that stress into specific time periods so you can spend the rest of your time knowing that you cant do anything to change it and should instead get on with your life.
Its the same thing if youre stressed about a busy schedule or upcoming performance.
Your schedule is only going to get busier if you fill it with stressing out, and the more time you spend stressed, the less time youll have to practice for your performance.
Accept that stress is a natural part of life, but tell it that it only has a few minutes and stick to it.
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School Stress Takes A Toll On Health Teens And Parents Say
Colleen Frainey, 16, of Tualatin, Ore., cut back on advanced placement classes in her junior year because the stress was making her physically ill. Toni Greaves for NPRhide caption
Colleen Frainey, 16, of Tualatin, Ore., cut back on advanced placement classes in her junior year because the stress was making her physically ill.
When high school junior Nora Huynh got her report card, she was devastated to see that she didn’t get a perfect 4.0.
Nora “had a total meltdown, cried for hours,” her mother, Jennie Huynh of Alameda, Calif., says. “I couldn’t believe her reaction.”
Nora is doing college-level work, her mother says, but many of her friends are taking enough advanced classes to boost their grade-point averages above 4.0. “It breaks my heart to see her upset when she’s doing so awesome and going above and beyond.”
And the pressure is taking a physical toll, too. At age 16, Nora is tired, is increasingly irritated with her siblings and often suffers headaches, her mother says.
How Do I Deal With Stress Better
While you should do what you can to avoid unnecessary stress, in reality, we face pressures every day, especially in our work lives. Luckily, there are lots of tools you can reach for when you start to feel stressed, as well as many ways to build up your emotionally resilience.
What’s more, many employers ask how you deal with stress in job interviews, and theyll be very impressed if you can show you have some effective techniques up your sleeve….
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Create A Spa In Your Bathroom
I dont care if your bathroom is falling apart with black sludge dripping from the ceiling .
You can still create a spa in your bathroom.
Fill up the tub, light some candles, and turn the lights off and just soak and sit.
Do a face mask, put in your favorite smell into a bath bomb, whatever you need to do.
Close the door behind you and pretend youve stepped into a spa at a fancy hotel and dont come out until youre feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world again.
What To Say To Someone Whos Stressed During A Tragedy
Tragedy strikes often at unexpected times, leaving people struggling to pick up the pieces. Its not always easy to sympathize during times like these, especially if you havent experienced a tragedy of your own. However, you should still support them through these messages.
1. Im so sorry for your loss.
If youre not very close to the individual, this is the best way to let them know youre thinking of them. Not everyone knows how to console someone, but you can still say something helpful.
2. Is there anything I can do to help?
If youre closer to the individual who experienced a tragedy, ask how you can help. They might not need you, but its still nice to know youre willing and able. However, make sure youre willing to follow through before you offer.
3. Do you need to talk about it?
While your loved one might not be willing or ready to talk about their particular tragedy, it never hurts to ask. Having an option to talk through your feelings and experience with someone you trust does wonder in times of need. Dont be offended by their answer, just be prepared to listen if you need to.
4. Im here for you during this difficult time.
Even if you cant take away their pain, you can still be there for them while theyre facing a crisis. This is a kind way to say youre sorry for their loss without going too in-depth into your own feelings.
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How Do I Avoid Stress
You may be surprised to hear it, but you can control much of the pressure in your life! Often, we create work-related stress for ourselves through bad planning or by setting unrealistic expectations.
Its easier said than done, but having some basic techniques at your disposal can help you avoid many of the stressful situations that a lot of people experience:
- Dont leave things to the last minute.
- Dont say “yes” whenever youre asked to take on a new piece of work.
- Take steps to motivate yourself and avoid procrastination.
- Learn to plan ahead and prioritise.
This last point is perhaps the most important of all. If you have two weeks to revise for an exam, and try to learn the whole syllabus, youll go into the exam hall feeling stressed and worn out. Far better to use your time to learn the most important content thoroughly.
And of course, an even better example of good planning would be to start your revision earlier and make sure you do have time to cover everything!
Make An Effort To Be Present
As your child transitions back to school, make every effort to be there for them, especially during the first few weeks. One way to do that is to try to be home more during the back-to-school time if that’s possible for you.
Right before school starts and during the first days back, try to make it a point to be available to support your child through this transition. If you work away from home, try to arrange your hours so that you’re able to drop your child off at school as well as be there after school if you can.
Alternatively, if you can’t be there, ask another trusted relative, friend, or caregiver to fill this role for your child. Leaving them an encouraging note in their backpack or calling them before they leave for school can help them feel more secure, too.
You can also plan a special time to do something fun together to celebrate after their first day. Giving them something to look forward to, while also honoring that going back to school is hard for them, can help them feel more at ease.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, try to focus more on your child and put nonessential items on the back burner when they are home. Spend some time talking to your child about their day, such as what they liked and what they might have questions about.
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Encourage Them To Diagnose Their Stress
Damours stance is that we parents are most useful to our teenagers when we help them ask themselves: What is the source of my stress? and Why am I anxious? It might be obvious to you what is going on the task here isnt to hand them a diagnosis but, rather, to help them see for themselves what is going on more clearly.
It can help to let kids know what stresses most people out. Sonia Lupien at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress has a convenient acronym for what makes life stressful: NUTS.
NoveltyThreat to the egoSense of control
We can help our kids identify causes of stress by looking for what might be new or changing in their life looking for sources of unpredictability identifying ways that their competence or safety is being threatened and asking about the things in their lives that feel out of their control.
In addition to searching for of stress, it can be helpful for teens to classify the particular strain of stress they are experiencing: Is it related to a negative life event? Is it the result of cumulative day-to-day difficulties that are beyond the teens control?
Life-event stressors are things like the death of a loved one, or changing schools, or dealing with your parents divorce. The more change a life event requires a teen to make, the more stressful it will tend to be.
The Teacher Spoke With Us First
Amy Paa-Rogers is from Boulder. Shes taught in public middle and high school for 28 years. She’s taught International Baccalaureate classes, Advanced Placement economics and freshman government.
Young Han Lester teaches high school English at a charter school in Denver. Hes been a teacher for six years.
Matt Borgmann teaches history and economics at the IB program in Palisade, Colorado.
Lori Goldstein recently retired after teaching middle and high school science for 29 years. Now shes on the Adams 12 School Board in Thornton.
Whats stressing out their students at school?
Borgmann: Can I just say everything? I deal with a lot of 12th graders primarily, and it’s just that point in their life where they actually do have to think of life outside of high school. I think the expectations of that creates some pressure for all of them, and in different ways. Some kids are leaving their parents who are willing to just let them go, and so they don’t have a lot of guidance. Or parents that are trying to overly guide them.
Paa-Rogers: Expectations from their friends, from school, from the academics, from teachers, from their parents. I think there’s that little triangle of, “My friends, I don’t want to let them down, and I chat with them all the time, and I want to make sure that I kind of keep up my image or my persona.”
Paa-Rogers: Or, “If I get in and I can’t pay, then how do I save face in front of my friends?”
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Unique Cultural And Social Dynamics
Students dont learn in a bubble, though. According to the psychologists and educators I talked to, these academic pressures are compounded for teens by the state of the economy, current events, and unique cultural and social dynamics that previous generations werent exposed to.
While the world has never been safe, teens who make up Generation Zborn in the mid-1990s to mid-2000snow receive constant alarmist reminders online through a personalized I.V. drip of troubling headlines .
The other day, a student told me that the world isnt safe anymore, with school shootings, terrorists, politics, war, and violence, said Barbara Truluck, a middle school counselor who was recently named Georgias 2019 Counselor of the Year. Her students sometimes erupt with emotion over issues seemingly detached from the school experience. Kids are processing a constant bombardment of headlines on a daily basis.
There are also new terrorsclimate change, immigration policy, #MeToo. Trulucks observations are corroborated by the American Psychological Associations 2018 Stress in America survey, which found that 75 percent of participants between the ages of 15 and 21 reported worrying about mass shootings, compared with 62 percent of adults overall. With every issuewhether immigration policy, sexual harassment, climate change, or suicide itselfGeneration Z members reported experiencing the most stress of any age group.
Take A Dog For A Walk
I say take a dog for a walk, because it can be yours or a dog you borrow from a friend, but theres nothing like the constant excitement and unconditional love of a dog that make them great pals when youre stressed.
This fulfills the advice to get out of the house and get some exercise, while also having a bit of a social connection .
Bonus points if you get some doggy cuddles later or go for a splash around in the puddles with them.
It can be one of the best things to do to relax and focus on someone elses needs rather than your own.
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Spend The Whole Day Alone
If you get recharged by spending time alone, youre going to have to eventually just give yourself the space to recuperate and work through your stress alone.
Send the kids to their friends house for the day, kick the husband out to go play sports with his friends, whatever you need to do to get that one day of solitude.
And when you have it, plan for it.
Are you going to lounge around all day in your pajamas?
Are you going to get something done that has been stressing you for out forever?
Are you going to indulge in all of your favorite foods that your family isnt invited to share?Do what you need to do and enjoy the time spent alone.
Assure Them They Aren’t Alone
Remind your kids that they’re not the only ones who may be nervous about starting school again. Other students are likely to be just as anxious as they are about the first day of school. Reassure them too, that the teacher knows kids are nervous, and will probably spend time helping students feel more comfortable as they settle into the classroom.
If your child is concerned about reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen in months, arrange some playdates. Helping your children reconnect with old friends or strengthen bonds with new ones not only reduces anxiety and stress but also can help your child start the year off on the right foot.
Keep in mind that living through the pandemic may have accentuated feelings of isolation and loneliness in kidsespecially if they have been cut off from many of their peers since the start of the pandemic.
Do what you can to reconnect them with their peerseven if it’s virtually for now. In some schools, you can get a class list, which can help you in knowing who to connect with.
But if your school district restricts access to this list, try posting in school community groups online in order to connect with other parents with children in your child’s class. If your child is anxious about not being in the same class with old friends, reassure them that they can still stay in touch.
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