Whether you are in school, working a job, volunteering, taking care of your siblings, something different, or some crazy combination of one or more of the above tasks, chances are you're no stranger to stress. Every one of us has experienced it at least once in our lives, and at times it can wreak havoc on not only our physical health but on our mental health as well.
According to a 2014 study by the APA, 31% of teens reported feeling overwhelmed and 30% reported feeling depressed or sad as a result of stress. Finally, 34% of teenagers predict their stress to increase in the next year (Bethune, 2014). If you factor in stress from Covid-19 related issues (unemployment, isolation, etc.), it magnifies all of these feelings, sometimes resulting in crippling depression, isolation, more severe mental health complications, and even physical health issues. But the after-effects aren't merely limited to these.
There was a time when I was an admitting representative, and I did my job well. I always went above and beyond in my job, and everyone knew that. I typically didn't get overwhelmed, but one day I was stressed to the max. One billing/scheduling fiasco with a patient caused me to crumble--resulting in losing my composure in front of not only my coworkers but other patients. I had a complete meltdown, ugly crying and all. Thankfully, my coworker came to my rescue and saved the day AND my mental wellbeing.
The point of this story is not to tell you that stress can cause meltdowns; it's not to tell you to find people whom you can depend on in stressful situations; it's not even to help you anticipate these situations and know that they will come. While these may be true, I'm telling you this to remind you of a few key points:
- All of us feel stressed at some point or another. The key is in responding to this stress in an appropriate and effective manner.
-Take time for breaks and/or time to yourself. Find an activity or hobby that you enjoy to help reduce your stress levels and take your mind off the list of things you need to do.
-Prioritize and stay organized. I can't stress this enough (no pun intended). Staying organized will avoid a lot of undue stress that comes from chaos and clutter.
-Remember that tomorrow is another day. NO task or job is worth your mental health, so if the task can wait until tomorrow, DO IT TOMORROW. Relieve a little stress today by prioritizing and postponing some of your duties today.
Stress can impact so many things and to completely neglect it can be harmful in more ways than just what is mentioned above. A lot of individuals tend to forget that adolescence is one of the hardest stages of getting older and is a period in which stressors are perhaps different but are still an ever-present and persistent issue. Tackle it today and tomorrow may be a little easier.
Bethune, S. (2014, April). Teen stress rivals that of adults. Monitor on Psychology, 45(4). http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/teen-stress