Stress can be overwhelming for adults - imagine how it feels for a teen student trying to find their way in the world. Teens today face a wide variety of items in their lives which adds stress to the mix. This includes things directly related to school like standardized testing, coursework, sports and club responsibilities, and decisions to make before graduating high school. In addition to this, many teens must work, don’t know where their next meal will be, have experienced trauma in their life, and much more.
Offer Stress Education Opportunities
We know that stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways for teens. Teachers and counselors do their best to identify students who may be in need of help with their stress levels. Signs may be that they are acting out, unable to concentrate, absent more often, or simply not being themselves. School counselors should reach out to teachers to provide students with ways to learn to decompress.
A simple poster could be placed on each classroom wall, or handouts given out in homeroom. These resources should include ways which students can reach out for help with stress. Perhaps individuals in the school who they can make an appointment to see. If they are too scared to do that, maybe emails which they can use to chat with a counselor for advice. The key is to give teens people, spaces and places in the school and community where they can seek help. Many times, students are not aware of what is available to them and feel alone.
Organize a Stress Fair
High school counselors may also want to look into having a stress fair for students. During lunch, or perhaps physical education classes, all students could do to the event to learn more about ways to decompress. Incorporate different styles of stress management into the fair so all teens will be able to benefit from something. If you know a big testing period is coming up, this would be a perfect time. Have speakers come in to teach meditation and mindfulness. A school psychologist could also speak with students about different ways to handle test stress and anxiety. Reach out to therapy dogs to invite them in to help students with their presence.
Providing this type of opportunity can be a great way to reach out to teens. They will be able to see that the school cares about them and wants to help them. Talk to students before and after to see what your specific student body may benefit from the most. What type of stress education opportunities does your school or district offer for students? Please share ideas which you have done and how you will expand on those ideas in the future by commenting below!