10 Tips to Help Teens Reduce Stress

By Kait Schuster

Our teenage years can be a stressful time. Add a global pandemic and an upended academic environment and the pressure can start to become too much to bear. But teens are resilient. Here are some stressbuster tips to help alleviate the pressure and get back to a more focused, healthy and grounded outlook on life.

  1. Eat healthfully — If you truly want to reduce your stress levels, then you have to take care of yourself. Start by watching what you eat. If you eat a lot of junk food or even skip meals, then you will not perform at your best. Your body needs nutrients to run efficiently, just like a car needs fuel to run.

  2. Sleep — Your body needs to recharge so you are ready to tackle the next day with a clear mind. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a day. This may seem unrealistic with a busy school schedule, but you will perform better if you get a good night’s rest! Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. It may be hard, but try to use your bed only to sleep. Do not do homework, watch television, or go on your phone right before bed. Try keeping a to-do list. If you jot notes down before you go to sleep, you will be less likely to stay awake worrying or stressing about tomorrow. If all else fails, try a weighted sleep blanket!

  3. Move it! — Sometimes you get so busy, the last thing you want to do is get up and move around. You may also think, “I don’t have time to exercise.” Well, think again: A study published in the Journal of School Health noted just two hours of extra exercise each week can improve your school performance. So not only is exercise good for you, it can help your grades. Definitely a win-win!

  4. Time for me — Take some time out of your busy day and spend it with a very important person: You. Everyone needs time to relax and have fun. It is important to schedule time to do something for yourself every day like watching Netflix, baking, online shopping, or listening to your favorite tunes. 

  5. Time for friends — Sometimes we get so busy with school, sports, and other activities, we forget about our friends. Do not keep them out of your life because you are too busy; you need them. Friends play an important role in helping you cope with life’s hassles.

  6. Get cooking Some people, like me, find it therapeutic to be in the kitchen whipping up a favorite recipe or trying a new one. Even if you are not a top chef, cooking can be a great mood booster. So find your favorite recipe and cook your cares away!

  7. Turn on the music Music can do wonders to relieve stress. Whether you like pop or country or maybe jazz or rock, music can help you feel good and de-stress. Make a playlist, put in your earbuds, and relax. For an added benefit, you can also try out some of your favorite dance moves!

  8. Go outside — How much time do you spend outside each day? Research shows that being outside improves your mood, which can make you feel less stressed. Going outside just a few minutes every day can make a big difference. Walk your dog, go for a run, and just enjoy your surroundings!

  9. Find your balance — Do not take on more than you can accomplish at once. Find a way to balance all of the things you need to do. You can start by making a list and crossing off things that do not need your immediate attention. I like to use colorful markers to make it fun. Practice managing your time and prioritizing what needs to be done so that you can work smarter, not harder.

  10. Stop and breathe — One quick way to calm yourself quickly is to breathe. Often when you feel anxious you breathe from your chest rather than from your stomach. When you breathe from your chest your breath is shallow and you do not get the full calming benefit of a real deep breath. Try this: lie on the floor and put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach; now take a breath like you normally would. Do you feel your chest rise and fall or do you feel your abdomen inflate like a balloon? The goal is to have your stomach inflate and deflate. Keep practicing taking deep, slow stomach breaths. You should feel yourself start to relax then you are ready to enjoy your life!

About the Author

Kaitlin (Kait) Schuster is a senior at Noble & Greenough School in Dedham, Mass. She is an honors student, a nationally-ranked squash player, and active in her school and community. She works hard on managing her stress.