Managing Stress & Anxiety
Hello! I am creating this as we are in the middle of COVID-19 and a Stay at Home Order. Everyone is discussing the stress of frontline workers and parents, and rightfully so. I wanted to take some time to help young people manage the stress and anxiety you may be feeling right now.
The schools will be closed for the remainder of the year. You may be struggling with your online/remote school work. You are worried about your parents and loved ones who have lost jobs or still have to go to work exposed to the virus. You don't know when you are going to see your friends and family again. You may have lost loved ones since we have been in quarantine. You may be confused about what is really going on and no one will explain it fully so you can understand. You may be worried because the people you are dependent upon to provide everything you need are worried as well. You may feel completely out of control.
What has happened since we've been at home that has you feeling worried or tense?
If you are having these feelings and thoughts, you are experiencing stress and anxiety. Don't feel bad about it; everyone else around the world is feeling it too. While stress and anxiety are normal responses, these can take a toll on our bodies and minds in prolonged difficult times, if we don't make an effort to manage. In order to manage stress and anxiety, we have to know what it is.
What do you think stress and anxiety is?
Stress is a response to pressure or threat. Under stress, we may feel tense, nervous, or on edge. The stress response is physical, too. Stress triggers a surge of a hormone called adrenaline that temporarily affects the nervous system. As a result, when you're nervous or stressed you might feel your heartbeat or breathing get faster, your palms get sweaty, or your knees get shaky.
Anxiety is a normal, natural human reaction that involves the mind and body. It serves an important basic survival function: Anxiety is an alarm system that is activated whenever a person perceives danger or threat. However, anxiety can become a disorder (mental health condition) when excessive amounts of anxiety, fear, nervousness, worry, or dread are too constant or too intense. This can cause a person to feel preoccupied, distracted, tense, and always on alert.
Now that we know what stress and anxiety are, how can we manage it so that it doesn't overwhelm us? I've come up with seven ways to manage your response to things you can't control.
How to manage stress & anxiety:
1. Pray, journal, or talk to a parent/adult you trust about negative thoughts
When negative thoughts arise, you shouldn't act like they don't exist. However, you don't want it to consume your thoughts. Let it out! Write it all down until you feel a mental release from those thoughts. Whatever religion you practice, pray and let your higher power know your worries. If none of that works, talk to an adult who can encourage you, explain your concerns, and ease your fears.
2. Meditate, think, pray, journal, or talk about positive thoughts and ideas
All happy thoughts welcome! Just like negative thoughts, let out your positive thoughts. You may be able to encourage those around. Unlike negative thoughts, keep positive thoughts in your mind. It will help block the negative ones from taking up space.
3. Ask for help or for whatever you need
Everyone is experiencing new ways of doing things and everyone is learning. Don't be ashamed to email your teacher, ask your parents, or call someone who is experienced in what you need help with. This leads to our next tip...
4. Remember how special you are and don't get down on yourself
Release yourself of the burden of being perfect and having to do everything perfectly. You will make mistakes. With the changes, you may not catch on as fast. Someone who is stressed may not be nice in the one instance you ask for help or forget to do something. You are still smart, you are still able, you are still worthy, and you are still a special person with unique talents and gifts whom we need here with us.
5. Be kind and loving; the best you that you can be
You may be stressed and anxious but have a good attitude. You are special but everything is not going to go your way. Many people need help and many people have less than you have. Keep your spirits lifted and be nice, even when it is difficult.
6. Do anything positive, constructive, and creative that will bring you peace
Draw, dance on Tik Tok, color, start a business, be resourceful, research online and find free resources you may need, sew masks, make and send cards for the elderly, watch movies, video chat with your friends, and do anything that will make you smile or feel more content during this unfamiliar time.
7. Cry, sleep a little more, or take a break if you need to
We can't ignore that this is a sad, stressful, and anxious time for us all. Sometimes coping and doing nothing for a while is the best way to stop stress anxiety from taking over.
What are some other ways to manage stress and anxiety?
Are you already practicing some of the tips above?
Can you see yourself managing your stress and anxiety using the tips given?
Who are the parents/adults you can talk to or call when you need help? Why do you choose them?
What are some positive, constructive, and creative things you can do to calm your nerves?
What are some positive things that have happened or can happen while we are safe at home?
Thank you for using this resource! I hope that you come back to this page anytime during the Stay at Home Order or anytime in life when you may feel stressed or anxious. I hope this encourages and reminds you to control your response even if you can't control the whole world.
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