Lots of things can make us feel stressed. It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a stress free life, and you can’t avoid all stress. In fact, stress can help us face up to new challenges in life. But it’s important to be aware when you’re under too much stress and learn strategies for coping with it. The following ideas come from other young people.
- “Going for a walk or to the gym, kicking a ball around with mates”
- “Getting things into perspective – I say to myself, will this really matter in a week / a month / a year”
- “Instead of being hard on myself I try to give myself credit for my talents and strengths”
- “Keeping my sense of humour”
- “Talking to someone about my feelings”
- “Doing something creative – drawing a picture, writing a song, playing an instrument”
- “Getting enough sleep and eating properly”
- “I make time just for me”
- “Having a long soak in a hot bath”
Learning to relax can be really helpful. First, lie down and get comfortable. Tense the muscles in each part of your body as you breathe in (begin with your toes), and relax them as you breathe out. Work your way up through each muscle, from your feet and legs to your stomach, back, shoulders, arms and hands. End with your neck and face. Try this at night if you have trouble sleeping.
For more information about relaxation, go to mind.org.uk.
A lot of people are finding the practice of mindfulness very helpful in dealing with stress (as well as anxiety and depression). The idea behind it is to learn to pay more attention to the present moment and so enjoy the world more and understand yourself better. There’s a good introduction to mindfulness at headspace.com and you can download a free app to try it out, or search nhs.uk for ‘mindfulness’.