The pandemic has raised stress levels to unprecedented heights, and it is essential for children and teens to learn how to cope with it in healthy ways. Short-term stress can be beneficial, but chronic stress can lead to physical and mental health problems. Young people may experience stress differently than adults, but they can still find ways to manage it.
Spend Time Working on Tasks and GoalsOne of the best ways for teenagers to manage stress is to focus on their tasks and goals.
This could include doing homework, completing household chores, or practicing a skill. It is important to remember that it is okay to ask for help when needed.
Use the Positive Energy of StressStress can be used as a positive force in a teenager's life. It can motivate them to practice for their piano recital or study when they would rather go out with friends.
It is important to remember that this type of short-term stress should not be confused with chronic stress.
Recognize the Signs of Chronic StressChronic stress can lead to a variety of physical and mental health problems, such as high blood pressure, weakened immune system, obesity, heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression. It is especially important for teenagers to recognize the signs of chronic stress, as it can be caused by events such as the pandemic, social unrest, or violence.
Identify Sources of StressYoung children may experience stress due to family discord, divorce, or loss.
Even happy changes such as a new home or the arrival of a new sibling can be difficult for them. As children grow older, their sources of stress expand. Teens may be stressed by events or situations outside the home such as fitting in with peers, romantic relationships, peer pressure surrounding substance use and sex, and exams and grades.
Seek Professional HelpPsychologists are experts at helping people manage stress and establish positive mental health habits.
Parents or caregivers should consider seeking professional help if their child is struggling with stress. Visit APA (Society for Clinical Psychology of Children and Adolescents) Division 53 for advice on choosing a psychologist and information on evidence-based treatments.