Healthy Ways to Manage Your Stress

Can stress still be overwhelming?  Yes.

For these cases below are 10 things you can do to help manage those high stress times.  

Note:  These tips are meant to provide general guidance, but it's important try them all to find what works best for you.   

1. Breathing Techniques

Deep Breaths

When you're feeling stressed, try taking slow, deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, count to four, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this a few times to help calm your body and mind.

    1. Maybe have a button with a timer - Inhale, 2, 3, 4…. Exhale, 2, 3, 4...

2. Move your body

Getting Physical Helps

Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress. Find activities you enjoy, like dancing, biking, playing a sport, or going for a walk. Moving your body releases feel-good chemicals that can help you feel better.

3. Get outside

We Are Meant to Go Outside

Just being outside, even if you’re not doing anything else, helps your body release feel-good chemicals that can help you feel better.

4. Get enough sleep

Turn off the screen and go to bed early!

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for managing stress. Aim for around 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a relaxing sleep environment to help you unwind and recharge. [Interactive short quiz: Are you getting enough sleep?]

5. Express yourself creatively

Look for an outlet

Find creative outlets to express your emotions, like writing in a journal, drawing, painting, or playing an instrument. These activities can be therapeutic and help you process your feelings. 

6. Practice mindfulness

Be Aware

Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Try activities like mindful breathing or focusing on your senses. It can help you feel more grounded and reduce stress. Free Mindfulness & Meditation Apps More about mindfulness Links to free apps for meditation and mindfulness

7. Take care of yourself

Remember... You Matter

Make sure to prioritize self-care. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as reading a book, listening to music, taking a warm bath, or pursuing a hobby. These activities can help you relax and recharge.

8. Break tasks into smaller steps

Focus on one step at a time

Big tasks can feel overwhelming and increase stress. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps. Set achievable goals for each step and celebrate your progress along the way. 

Practice examples:

Example 1: Big test coming up

  • Ask teacher for any clarification needed

  • Break what you need to study into sections.

  • Set time each day to study a section and review past sections.

Example 2: Starting a healthier lifestyle

  • Prepare healthy foods so they are ready for when you are hungry.

  • Practice meditation (there are plenty of free guided meditations on youtube or free mediation apps).  Meditation has proven to be very effective, but you have to do this regularly.   
  • Create realistic daily exercise schedule.  Start slow with a plan to build up to harder exercises. 

  • Try different sports available at school or with your town, or a local martial art.  This will create a schedule for you that you have to follow.  

9. Take breaks from screens

Screentime & Mental Health

Spending too much time on screens can add to your stress levels. Take regular breaks to rest your eyes and do other activities you enjoy, like playing a board game, drawing, or spending time outdoors. Graphs - screentime associated with depression/anxiety

10. Talk to someone

It's ok to need help

Share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or adult. Sometimes just talking about what's bothering you can make a big difference. They might have helpful advice or simply be there to listen and support you.

Pro tip: Tell your friends or family what you need from them.   Do you need some advice? Ask them for advice.  Or maybe you just want to vent, and really don’t want advice.  *Insert illustration of girl talking with talk bubble*: “I really just need to vent right now… I don’t want any advice - can you just hear me out?”