Stress is a normal part of life. There’ll be many situations and scenarios where you might feel more stressed than normal, and school can be a big source of stress for many young people.
Keeping up with homework for multiple subjects, exams, deadlines, subject choices; and that’s without trying to add in your hobbies, hanging with friends and family, and some quiet time!
There’s a lot to take on, and it’s totally normal you’d feel the stress creeping in now and then.
How Do You Know if Stress is Getting the Better of You?
Stress can look and feel different to everyone. Sometimes, you might not even realise that stress is starting to cause a problem.
Here are some clear signs that stress might be impacting your life:
- Feeling irritable, angry, or frustrated more than usual: When we’re feeling under pressure or like we’re falling behind, it’s easy to have a shorter fuse than we might usually. If you’re finding yourself frustrated or irritated by little things more easily, it could be a sign stress is getting to you.
- Sleepless nights: We’re no strangers to wanting to stay up late binging the latest addictive TV series, but it usually leaves us with tired eyes and a foggy brain the following day! Finding it hard to sleep, waking constantly, or broken sleep could be stress taking over your brain.
- Low motivation for your responsibilities: Dropping the ball on homework? Forgetting about appointments or obligations? Or even feeling a lot of meh about hanging out with friends? Low motivation for the things you need to do or enjoy doing could be a sign of stress.
- Falling sick more than usual: Stress often shows up as physical symptoms as it lowers our immune systems; headaches, stomachaches, other aches and pains – these could all be linked to stress. Other conditions like common colds and viral conditions could be a sign it’s time to address sources of stress in your life.
7 Simple Stress-Free Ways to Combat Stress
Identifying that stress is taking too big a role in your life is a great first step to reducing it and getting back on track. To help you get through these times, we’ve put together a few top tips to help you look after yourself.
1. First and foremost – get a good night’s sleep!
Sleep deprivation reduces our ability to think logically and can make every other little bit of stress or frustration in our life feel SO much worse than it is!
If you feel stress is taking over, the first thing to focus on. Try to spend a week resetting any poor sleep habits that might have crept in. Try to get to bed at a reasonable time and commit to no devices at least one hour before sleeping. Set yourself up with a positive routine; a hot shower, a calming cup of tea, and some reading, drawing or journaling.
2. Eat right!
When we’re stressed, it’s easy to turn to comfort foods to help us feel better. Junk food, excessive coffee or sugary drinks can exacerbate feelings of stress and make us feel even more heightened and stressed!
Commit to drinking lots of water throughout the day, get your two and five of fruit and veg and make sure you’re eating proper meals three times a day. When your body feels appropriately nourished, your bain will too!
3. Spend some time reprioritising.
When there’s a lot on your plate, and it feels never-ending, it’s easy to let schedules and routines slide – but these are the things that can help you feel more in control and capable during stressful times!
Take a bit of time to reprioritise what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Are you dedicating a couple of hours a day to Netflix or gaming but falling behind with your homework? Are you spending hours playing footie with your mates and neglecting your home chores? Think about how you can create a better balance and prioritise what you need to do alongside what you want to do.
4. Take a rest and reset day.
It’s easy to slip into the habit of keeping your foot pressed to the pedal but feeling like you’re not getting anywhere.
It’s perfectly okay to give yourself a break and take a day off to rest and reset. This isn’t about burying your head in the sand and neglecting what you need to do, but giving yourself a brain break so you can feel refreshed and ready to tackle everything.
5. Get outside.
Heaps of research has shown how getting outside in nature, green spaces (parks and forests) or blue spaces (the ocean or bodies of water) can help boost your mood and keep stress at bay!
Whether it’s a casual hike, a surfing sesh, or taking your dog for a run in the local park – remember to add some fresh air and scenery into your week.
6. Talk it through.
You’re never alone when going through a rough stress patch. Whether it’s getting help at school for everything you need to do, speaking to your parents, or simply letting it all out with your friends – talking about it will help.
Talking about stressful situations with a trusted adult can help you put things in perspective and find solutions. Talking about it with friends experiencing similar things can also help you feel less alone and isolated with what you’re experiencing.
7. Add some play!
Keep some free time in your week for unstructured, disorganised and spontaneous fun! One of our favourite things to do is write a range of fun, playful and silly things to do on pieces of paper and keep them in a jar in the office.
When it’s time to inject the day or week with a bit of play, we pick a bit of paper, and that’s what we have to do!
These could be anything, from hitting the swings in the local park to a dance party for one in our bedroom to our favourite playlist, an hour of video games or a board game night with friends; anything goes!
Play is a superpower against stress as it boosts endorphins and reminds us there’s still lots of great stuff to do in our lives. It’s all about balance!
Where to Find Out More
We are confident these tips will help you in time, but if you would like further information on managing stress and some fantastic resources to help, check out the Headspace Interactive Activities page. There are a lot of valuable tools to help.
Stress is a normal part of life and can be a good thing, in small doses, to help motivate us towards achieving our goals!
But stress that impacts your overall health is not cool – nor does it have to be something you simply live with.