Stress, anxiety and depression are perfectly normal experiences, more common and recognised now after the age of 11. Some of us are more predisposed to one experience than another and some of us have no idea of what mental health distress actually feels like.
It can be hard for those that haven’t experienced distress to recognise, understand and help those struggling to overcome their experiences of stress, anxiety and depression as well as feelings, behaviours beyond those expected of teenagers and their development.
Signs of stress
Noticing stress in young people can be difficult when many of the signs are simply what it looks like to be a teenager anyway. Noticing changes in what you would consider ‘normal’ for that individual is key. Changes signify an inability to stay the same, change which suggests the pressures and expectations are such that usual coping and management techniques are becoming less effective. Stress is a perfectly normal reaction to pressured times. Continued and unresolved stress can be harmful and during exam time excess and unmanaged exam stress can have long term consequences both in terms of results and mental health.
Changes in energy
- Interrupted sleep and ensuing tiredness.
- Exhaustion or burnout due to overdoing it.
- Increased illness, including headaches/ migraines, colds.
- Change in eating habits; sudden weight change.
Changes in mental health
- Other conditions appear or worsen such as anxiety, depression, phobias and eating disorder.
- Experiencing negative emotions.
- Lowered self-esteem/ confidence.
- Engaging more in negative/unhelpful coping strategies.
- Constant reassurance seeking.
- Emotional outbursts.
- Feeling less interested in the fun stuff.
- Difficulties in memory and concentration.
- Avoiding, putting off studying or revising.
- Escaping from /avoiding actual exam situations.
- Lack of motivation for the future, prospects.
I’ve noticed stress- what next?
A call for help isn’t always explicit so sometimes simply mentioning that you’ve noticed a change in your student may be enough. Going that step further and add to that some gentle reassurance and normalizing (not dismissing) their experience is also a good start. Perhaps you have professionals or a system in place that you can direct them to or if not could you explore with them their options of who they can turn to.
Workshops and sessions
My sessions are available from February 2019. Within three sessions we would have:
- Reduced the stress reaction
- Identified avenues of support
- Explored triggers and responses
- Provided reassurance
- Instilled some tools of recovery for the future.
Feel free to fill in the form below for more information or to begin the booking process.