Coping with School Stress
With summer vacation coming to an end for Arizona teens, it’s important to talk about a serious health threat teens are facing… Stress. Teens experience a variety of stressors in middle school and high school including, discovering who they are, bullying, homework, and social pressures. Stress can lead to many negative health outcomes, but it can also lead to drug and alcohol use. On the 2018 Arizona Youth Survey, 36% of teens that had used drugs or alcohol in the past 30 days said they used substances to deal with stress from school. This is why it’s important that we teach our teens healthy ways to deal with the stress they are experiencing. Here are few coping strategies you can try with your teen:
- Encourage them to take a break. If your teen is stressed and frustrated over a homework assignment or situation, encourage them to take a short break to help them refocus and calm down. While on their break, encourage them to do something that they love, maybe it’s talking to a friend or listening to music.
- Try a relaxation technique. This can be anything from breathing exercises to progressive muscle relaxation. You can download an app, like “Calm”, to guide you through the process. It’s a great way to release stress at the end of the day or on a short break.
- A great way to deal with stress is to talk about what is causing the stress. Try having an open conversation with your teen and remember to be supportive and nonjudgmental.
- We can’t forget about our diet and exercise. Believe it or not, what we eat and what we do has a big impact on our stress level! Try a new recipe and encourage your teen to get active, perhaps in a sport or even just a nightly walk.
Coping strategies like the ones above aren’t just for your teen. Try them yourself as well! By modeling these strategies, your teen will be more likely to use them. Remember you’re teaching your child a skill they will be able to use now and for the rest of their life!