Do you feel tired, irritable, or angry? When we think of stress, we usually think of the daily struggles and anxieties of the adult life—paying bills, pleasing the boss, or supporting, feeding, and raising a family. However, it’s easy to let another vulnerable group slip through the cracks—teenagers. It isn’t easy being a teenager. They may feel on-edge due to frequent exams, overscheduled days, and other stressors and pressures of life—the desire to be accepted, to get good grades, and to make big decisions that may affect their future.
According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, adolescents report higher stress levels than adults during the academic year. In the survey, almost 75% of teens reported more than one of the following symptoms of stress: irritability, anger, anxiety, and lying awake at night.
Health Implications—A Vicious Cycle
What do these high stress levels mean for their health? The very thing that can help reduce stress are overlooked. In the prime years of their life, exercise, nutrition, and proper sleep habits can be neglected. In turn, neglected sleep, nutrition, and exercise create more stress.
Many teens may not even realize that stress is affecting their health. Even worse, this teenage stress can carry over into their adulthood if nothing is done about it or they do not learn how to cope with it properly.
How to De-Stress
Exercise. In the survey, teens reported exercising less than one time per week or not at all. Both physical exercise as well as breathing exercises can help reduce stress. Even gentle exercise can help you relax and relieve some stress. Fuel your exercise so that you can fuel your workout, think clearly, and stay focused during your exercise routine. EnergyFirst Prefuel is a natural, effective alternative to unhealthy, sugary artificial energy drinks that can interfere with effective exercise.
Stable Blood Sugar. As we learned, stress leads to a vicious cycle. Unstable blood sugars during stress are a vicious cycle within a vicious cycle. Brains are fueled by glucose. However, sugary foods or refined carbohydrates can cause unstable blood sugar levels that spike and then plummet, making it hard to stay concentrated and think clearly.
If under stress, don’t resort to sugary foods. They will leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish, which leads to cravings for more sugary foods. Focus on a blood sugar stabilizing diet. An easy, quick way to prepare a meal that won’t mess with your blood sugar levels is the EnergyFirst Protein shake. With strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavors, you can get the sweet fix you need without entering the vicious cycle of unstable blood sugars.
Eat regularly. Stress can weaken the immune system, making it more vulnerable to infections. The body’s nutrient needs may increase during stressful times. Skipping a meal to manage stress can only create more stress on the body. This can also cause unstable blood sugars. In fact, research shows that regular meals can lead to better academic performance.
While a daily multivitamin supplement can support some of the body’s nutrient needs, it is important to also get these nutrients from whole foods, especially those rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that can boost the immune system.
If you are a teenager, it may seem like stress is taking control of your life. However, remember that following these simple steps can help you take control of your stress.