Stress Management for Youth with Learning Disabilities
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Sometimes a little stress can be a good thing. Like when you are nervous before a big test or a first date, stress can give you a needed burst of energy. Everyone wants to do well and be successful, and stress in small doses can even help you achieve your goals. There are also times when school or social situations can be overwhelming and the stress can paralyze you rather than push you into action. Be aware of how you feel, because this type of stress can be harmful to your health and emotional well-being.
Understanding your stress and the things that make you feel “stressed out” can help you navigate through life better. Below are ten easy tips to help you reduce stress when you are feeling overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, or more nervous and worried than usual.
1) What’s on your schedule?
If you are feeling overwhelmed because you have many responsibilities, review your commitments and activities and decide if you want to do less. Choosing to do less may actually give you the opportunity to do what is left on your list even better than before. You may also want to alternate activities, choosing music lessons one semester at school and drama the next, allowing you to experience, learn and enjoy both activities.
2) Be proud of a job well done.
Aiming for perfection is normal but not the most practical. Learn to feel good about doing a competent job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.
3) Hey, it’s okay to ask for help.
If you require help in schoolwork, completing chores at home or at a job, ask someone for assistance. Asking for help is much better than not completing a job because you are not sure what to do.
4) Everybody loves sleep! Keep a bedtime schedule.
Try going to bed at the same time every night. Getting enough sleep can help you both emotionally and physically, and can help you to better cope with any stressful moments that may come up during the day (at school, at work, with friends or parents.) Although it is tempting to stay up late and you don’t really feel tired, it’s important to stay on a schedule and make sure you get enough sleep each night.
5) Get active and exercise every day.
It’s true, exercise has been shown to reduce stress and depression. Making sure you get some exercise each day can help you to remain alert and help you focus on your schoolwork–this can help you have more energy for your extra-curricular activities too.
6) Eat right (healthy food is good for stress)
Would you eat pizza every night if you could? That’s pretty normal for most teens, and while pizza is okay sometimes, it’s important that you eat healthy foods as part of a balanced diet. Salads, fresh veggies, fruits and whole grains are good for you! And just like thinking positively, eating healthy food can take some practice. Eating healthy foods can even help you to function better, especially in stressful situations.
7) Slow down; try relaxation techniques
Deep breathing exercises, meditation or visualization techniques to help cope with daily stresses. These type of techniques can be used every day to help your mind stay balanced and can be used in highly stressful situations to help you cope immediately.
8) Good friends & family–develop your support network.
Having people to talk to or people you can connect with when you need support is helpful. If you don’t already have a support system, think about who of your friends and family you can call on when you feel stressed and ask them if you can call them the next time you feel overwhelmed.
9) And don’t forget to have fun.
So often our life can be filled with schoolwork, jobs, chores and tons of other things we “have to do.” Make sure to include activities in your day that you enjoy–being happy can help you relax.