Kids often use the word stress to talk about things they are concerned or worried about.
They stress about tests, sports and arguments at home and with friends. But what is stress?
Stress can be felt as worry, nerves, fear or just being uncomfortable. It can be felt physically – as a stomachache or headache – and can cause trouble sleeping.
You can tell if you are feeling more stress than usual as you know yourself best! If you are, here are some hacks to help you deal.
Pause, Connect, Reset
PAUSE to talk with a trusted adult about what’s causing you stress. (In this case, talking to an adult isn’t tattling or telling on someone or something. It can be an important step in solving the stress.) The adult can be anyone you trust, and someone you go to for help – your older brother or sister, a parent, a teacher or counsellor.
CONNECT – try to be honest and tell them what is bothering you, and how its making you feel.
You can also CONNECT inside yourself and ask some questions to find out more. Are you too busy at school and with after school activities? Are you expecting too much from yourself – perfect report cards for example? Are you taking on too many problems of other people – your friends or family members? Do you feel you need to make someone else’s life better? If you answer yes to some of these questions it’s a clue to what you might need to talk about with someone.
RESET and try to make sure you are healthy – are you getting enough sleep? Enough exercise? Are you eating a lot of junk or unhealthy food? Sometimes small things like going outside for fresh air and a walk or play in the park can make a big difference in how you feel.
Identify some things that make you feel better. Here are some examples:
- Listen to calming music.
- Write your feelings down on paper to help make things more clear.
- Make a list of the things you need to keep track of (for example tests and assignments you need to prepare for).
- Ask someone for helping ideas (like a parent, friend or teacher).
- Make a Feelings Book.
- Do something relaxing (have a warm bath or take time to do something you really like to do such as a sport, or art activity).
You can also try some quick stress relievers:
- Try picturing your favourite place (maybe your bedroom or backyard) for a few moments. If you use your imagination you can picture yourself being calm and happy there.
- You can also try taking some deep breaths and counting to 10. Breathe in and out slowly and concentrate on letting the stress feelings go out of your body. Picture your favourite colour as you breathe.
- Remembering a good time with your family or friends can also help you to feel better. Try to relive a good memory, and focus on the good feeling this creates.