The pandemic pushed stress to historic highs. Here are healthy ways for children and teens to cope
The pandemic left mental illness at an all time high, especially among children and teens. “In fact, 71% of parents said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health, and 69% said the pandemic was the worst thing to happen to their child, according to a 2020 national survey of 1,000 parents facilitated by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.” Stress can alter a child in many different ways, it can stem from academic studies or doing well in a sport or a child can have chronic stress that can come from social unrest and violence which can do extensive damage to a child. Chronic stress is what many children have experienced since the pandemic.
To recognize the signs of stress in children, here is what you can look for. Irritability and anger: some children may let these issues bubble up inside and result in an outburst of emotion or could be highly argumentative. Change in behavior: a child who usually is disciplined and then all of a sudden acting out of character could be a sign of stress. Trouble sleeping: a child may sleep more than usual or have difficulty sleeping. Neglecting responsibilities: forgets obligations or procrastinating, stress might be a factor. Eating changes: eating too much or too little can be a large sign of stress. Lastly, getting sick more often: stress can often show through physical symptoms.
For children and teens there are ways in order to manage these stressors of life. Sleep is essential for mental and physical well-being. Physical activity can help stress for people of all ages. Talking about stressful situations to a trusted adult or parent can put situations into a different perspective and help solve problems. Spending time in nature can be highly beneficial
in fact, “Researchers have found that people who live in areas with more green space have less depression, anxiety and stress.” Last, but not least, using mindfulness exercises or training can help make you fully aware of how you are feeling without judgment.