Helping our teens know how to relieve stress is an important discussion in parenting. Tools such as a stress chart can help identify emotions.
Ask any teenager, and most of them will tell you they are stressed. For the Beyond Good Intentions parenting podcast episode 89, I spoke to counselor Nicci Bontrager from Joyful Family Counseling and she shared about tips for how to relieve stress and I’m grateful for all she shared on stress relief for our teens that can also help children to adults alike.
Way to help with stress relief:
- Go for a walk
- Play a game
- Talk to a friend
- Practice mindfulness (being aware of stressors)
facts about stress
The important thing to note in the difference between stress and a bigger concern of anxiety and depression is if there is a CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE or change in behavior affecting their life. Look closely and see if there is a new and recent significant difference in grades, behavior, friendship, etc. that lasts more than 2 weeks.
Positive affirmations work wonders in how to relieve stress. Saying things in your mind or out loud to a mirror, “I’ve got this!” or “I can do this!” It may feel funny at first, but you are retraining your brain.
Podcast about stress
In this Beyond Good Intentions parenting podcast
episode you can listen to an interview with Nicci and I sharing a lot of the thoughts I’m summarizing on this post. Sometimes it’s more helpful to LISTEN than READ!
There is also a corresponding podcast for teens on the Fist Bump podcast
if you have teenagers that you’d like them to understand better as well.
nutrition and sleep
We all know that nutrition and sleep are extremely important to our overall wellness and mental well being, but this can’t be reiterated enough to check these for things with our teens:
- Caffeine intake
- Sugar intake
- Salt intake
Talk with your teens about nutrition and sleep, especially if they are having trouble sleeping.
One tip that Nicci shared with me in our chat is to not use the bed like a couch. Meaning don’t scroll your phone or even binge watch shows from your bed, because it tells your brain it’s not for sleep and may result in trouble sleeping.
One of the main points in my conversation with Nicci about how to relieve stress was the importance of helping our teens understanding emotions and teaching emotional processing skills. I asked Nicci how she would respond if she had a teen client come in and say, “I feel stressed 24/7/365.” She said she’d first ask them to walk her through their day. See where time is spent. Break down the day, and put it on paper.
She then suggested looking up an emotions chart and pinpointing the exact emotion. She said, “When you make a problem more specific, it’s easier to solve.”
Instead of just saying, “I’m stressed” get to the root of what exactly that emotion is. She said most negative emotions go back to hurt and fear. Why are you hurt? What are you fearful of? Are two questions we can ask to get more specific. As parents, we want our children to figure out their own solutions. It will set them up for life.
Most importantly as parents:
LISTEN and VALIDATE. It works wonders to help our kids “blow off steam” and de-stress.
After this discussion in the podcast interview, I looked around the internet to find a stress chart for teens, and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I created one! Download the full color version or black and white to have your teen fill it out and become more mindful of how stress is felt and stressors in general.