Stress at school? Stress at work? Stress in your free time? What helps when it gets too much for you?
What is stress?
Stress in itself is nothing negative. It is the reaction of our body and our psyche to special, challenging situations. Stress increases our attention and boosts our performance. We are thus activated to cope with special demands – such as taking an exam or arriving on time despite getting up too late. A certain amount of stress is sometimes necessary.
If this well-tolerable level of stress is exceeded, remains too long or occurs too often, we experience this increased activation as unpleasant or even stressful. If this unpleasant, burdensome stress persists for a long time, it can also lead to physical illness. For example, chronic stress weakens the immune system, making one more susceptible to illness, etc.
When we talk about having stress in everyday life, it usually means this unpleasantly perceived stress. “To be stressed means to have so much to do that you feel totally under pressure and can’t find time for anything else. For example, too much to study can cause stress. But there is also leisure stress – that is, when there is so much going on in your free time that you can’t find a quiet minute: From school to sports training, doing homework, going to the cinema with friends, preparing for a party, and then there’s that darn schoolwork you should be studying for. And then there are 70 WhatsApp messages, the Instagram feed and the battle in the online game. Often you cause yourself stress because you think you have to do something all the time and that you can never be lazy. But it’s precisely those moments when you simply do nothing that are important. Especially in times of mobile phones, these moments are becoming less and less.
Are you also stressed?
- You are often nervous and totally restless during the day.
- It’s hard for you to relax and calm down.
- It may feel like you are on a hamster wheel – there is no real break, you are always on the go and busy.
- You can’t think about anything but the things you have to do and you worry if you can get everything done.
- You can hardly fall asleep or sleep restlessly at night.
- Or do you often have headaches and stomach aches?
Do you feel that you are being addressed? If these situations sound familiar to you, it could be that stress is also plaguing you. Prolonged stress is unpleasant and stressful and it would be important to look at how this stress can be reduced.
TIP — Help, what to do?
It is important that you take time for yourself. Think about how you can find time for yourself where you don’t have to do anything. Feel free to skip an appointment or say no when others want something from you. You certainly don’t have to answer all messages immediately.
It often helps to find more time for yourself by organizing your time better. Sit down and write down in a calendar all the appointments you have in the next few weeks. So: schoolwork, tests, sports training, parties at friends’ houses … whatever you can think of. And very important: plan breaks and time-outs right from the start! They have to be observed just as strictly as everything else. To keep an overview of how balanced appointments and rest are, you can also use different colours. There are also many apps that you can use for this purpose.
During stressful periods, think about how you can “clear out” your schedule. Which appointments can you cancel, what can you do in a quieter time? It is important, however, that you do not leave out everything that is relaxing. After all, without free time, learning won’t work anymore.
Exercise and fresh air also help to reduce stress. Try “running away” from stress, for example. Some people find it easier to completely exhaust themselves, while others are more comfortable with rest and relaxation, e.g. yoga or quiet music. Test which method suits you best.
More tips against stress
Don’t forget to reward yourself during stressful times to recharge your batteries. Think of simple things. For example, watch your favorite film, eat a piece of chocolate, make your favourite tea, listen to music, dance … Do something good for yourself.
Laughing together is a great way to relieve stress. So go to your friends and have a good laugh. Or watch a funny YouTube video.
To really relax, it’s sometimes good to go somewhere else, e.g. to a swimming pool for an afternoon or on an excursion with friends or parents. Maybe an Escape Room can take you away from brooding completely.
Certain scents, e.g. lavender, also have a relaxing effect – maybe you have a lavender pillow to smell at home or a bath additive for a bubble bath.
Make sure you relax
Especially in stressful times, it is important to relax enough. Relaxation exercises can also help. Try it out and see if it’s something for you. Often it doesn’t work the first time, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while before you feel relaxed.
Travel to your place of well-being
Get into a relaxed position (sit in your favorite spot, lie down on the couch, etc.). If it feels comfortable to you, close your eyes, otherwise you can leave them open. Dream of the place where you would like to be right now. Imagine the place in as much detail as possible and with all your senses. For example, if you are at the seaside, think about how the warmth feels on your skin, how the wind blows through your hair, how the sand passes between your toes, how the sea smells salty and perhaps a little fishy, how the palm trees rustle, and so on. The more accurately you manage to imagine your place of well-being, the more it will feel as if you are actually there. When you feel that you have relaxed enough for this moment, slowly travel back to the here and now. Stretch out; slowly open your eyes again, and so on. Take your time so that you can arrive in peace. Before you continue with your routine, it is good to complete your wellness thought journey, for example by shaking yourself or taking a glass of water and drinking it consciously. You can always come back to your place of well-being – which of course can always change. Perhaps you could draw a picture of it or summarize the place in one word and carry this note with you as a reminder.
For another exercise, place one hand on your belly and breathe deeply 5 times. It is best to do this with your eyes closed. Observe how the breath moves in and out of your body. You can also imagine how each exhalation brings you more peace. Perhaps it will help if you imagine a body of water with many waves that become calmer with each exhalation. Although this may sound a bit strange, it can really help you relax and bring your concentration back.
Variety of relaxation exercises
If you search for relaxation exercises on the internet or on YouTube, you will find countless more. For example, guided dream journeys or meditation exercises. Click through and see what suits you and feels good.
All our digital media can also stress us out. Are mobile phones, consoles and the like sometimes too much for you? Then you’re like many people at the moment. You’re Netflixing and yet you’re writing messages on the side. While writing a task, you get distracted by the beeping of your mobile phone. We’ve written together a few life hacks that we’ve tested through:
#Movies : Watching series without anything else for real. If you find it hard, really put your phone far away. Instead, snuggle up with your pet or boyfriend/girlfriend.
#unfollow: Watch what works for you. Unfollow people on Instagram and YouTube whose channels make you feel imperfect all the time. Look at what you really enjoy and unfollow the rest.
#Timechecker – Check your online time: Take a look at how much time you spend online. Think about whether it still suits you. Otherwise, you can create your own limits with many apps or directly in the settings.
#sweetdreams: Flight mode for sweet dreams: Sounds boring, but it works. At least switch your mobile phone to flight mode at night.
#FriendshipRulez: Leave a message when a friend confides in you.
For further help and support — Speak with a licensed therapist today.