Stress has become a norm in our modern, rushed lifestyles. If we're not stressing , we're thinking of things to be stressed out about. As common as it is , too much stress can be harmful. Research reveals that stress has been linked to a number of mental and physical conditions, including: depression, anxiety, eating disorders and high blood pressure.
While stress usually affects adults it has, unfortunately, managed to affect children and teens as well. Modern kids face numerous stressors such as: academic success, peer relationships, dealing with family issues and finding their identities as they deal with the mental and physical changes that come with puberty. So how do we guard ourselves, and more importantly, our kids from the very real effects of stress? Here are a few tips on how to manage stress for you and your family:
-Nothing aggravates a stressful day like procrastination and lack of time management. Procrastination will trick you into believing that there's enough time , until there isn't. Hence the importance of managing your time so that you're not a strung out mess by the end of the day. At the end of each day, draw up a to-do-list for the next day; allocate a set amount of time for each activity on the list . These activities should include exercise and family time. Parents can assist younger children with an after-school to-do-list; it's never too early to learn time management!
Teens writing exams can set up a study timetable that allocates a certain amount of study time for each subject. Be sure to include time for breaks and exercise.
-Stress can cause: tension in the neck and shoulders and stress migraines. That's why it's important to get up, get out and MOVE! Exercise does wonders to relieve stress-related tension. A 30-45 min walk out in nature , a session of pilates or a morning swim will have you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day! Exercise's stress-relieving benefits include: providing a boost of endorphins (happy hormones) and of course a giving you a much-needed surge of energy.
-Stress causes your hormone production to go a little crazy . A balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables(Vit C) and whole-grains will help to balance hormone production and assist in lowering your blood pressure. Avoid: coffee, fatty, sugary or salty foods and snacks and alcohol. Enjoy salads that include lots of leafy greens (magnesium), nuts and seeds (B vitamins) and legumes (proteins).
Get professional help
-If stress is causing you or a family to have anxiety/panic attacks or feelings of a loss of control, then it is advisable to seek professional assistance. There is no shame in getting help especially when mental health is concerned.
Stress: there's the good kind that gets you up and ready for work/school in the mornings and then there's the bad kind that leaves you feeling anxious. It is important manage your stress so that it does not have a hold on your mental well-being. Remember that you only have this life to live, so make the most of it!
Mayo Clinic Staff. 2018. Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. [Online]. [20 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
Lewin, J. 2019. Stress relief: How diet and lifestyle can help. [Online]. [19 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/stress-diet-can-foods-help