PADUCAH - We all know what it's like to feel stressed, being under pressure is a normal part of life. But becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.
Wednesday is National Stress Awareness Day, it's an opportunity to think about our well-being and finds ways to manage the stress in your life.
A study by the American Psychological Association finds more than 35 percent of American teens feel overwhelmed, some even say they've skipped meals because of their stress.
Parents, one way you can help your kids, no matter how old they are, is making sure they're getting plenty of exercise. It can be as simple as just taking a walk.
Getting physical activity is one of the most effective ways to deal with stress. The key is to find something you enjoy. It doesn't have to be going to the gym to work out, you can also try adding something like yoga or hiking to your routine, or something you can do with a friend!
Make sure your teens are getting enough sleep. Between homework, after school activities and spending time with their friends it can be hard to get the sleep they need. Limiting screen time, from TV and phones or tablets late at night and stay away from caffeine.
Find a balance: school is important, but so is having some time away from their schoolwork to have fun.
Shelly Baer is a therapist at Emerald Therapy Center in Paducah. Baer says talking through it can help anyone manage stress, whether you're an adult or teenager.
“We always tell teenagers, ‘you're only as healthy as your tribe.’ So, if the people closest to you are healthy then you're going to be healthy. So, if your friends are kind of on the same track, that really helps a lot. And then with parents to be realistic as well parents can sometimes forget how stressful it is on a teen.”
There are also some things to avoid if you want to reduce your stress levels:
Try to limit your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that will actually increase your stress level instead of helping it. Alcohol is a depressant when you drink a lot of it, and a stimulant in smaller amounts. Instead, swap out to these drinks with water, herbal teas or natural fruit juices. These will help you stay hydrated, and manage stress.
Another thing you can try, keep a stress diary. Take notes of times and places you're feeling stressed and give it a rating so you can better understand your triggers. If stress starts becoming too much for you, don't feel like you have to keep going. Sometimes a short rest or nap could be what your body needs to recover.