How To Help Your Overwhelmed Teen

We live in a world that is busy and it is only natural that today’s teenagers are becoming overwhelmed with daily life.

We need to help our teens with the stress in their lives in order to stop them feeling overwhelmed and alone.

Here are some things to know about overwhelmed teenagers and some tips on how to handle their feelings so they can feel less anxious:

Feeling overwhelmed is normal.

It is important that your teenager understands that many teenagers (if not all) feel overwhelmed at times. As mentioned above, stress and anxiety are usually caused by feeling overwhelmed by everything life throws at them.

The body reacts to stress in the way it knows best so overwhelmed teenagers can feel frustrated, confused and sad at times. The emotions teenagers feel are the body dealing with the issues and trying their best to manage them. 

Recognise the signs of stress.

The signs of stress include moodiness, negative talk, tiredness and insomnia. Some teenagers get stomach upsets or headaches when they are stressed out or when they feel overwhelmed.

If you notice your teenager is not themselves, you should chat with them about the stress they are feeling and how it is impacting their bodies.

Stress can be healthy, as we all need a certain level of stress to do things in life - it helps us to focus. However, it needs to be managed to enhance a teenager’s performance.

If your teenager is not handling stress well, they will develop physical symptoms (as above) that can confuse them and impact their daily life.

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Stress-busting strategies are Yoga, Pilates or exercise in general.

Figure out why they feel so overwhelmed.

Firstly, is your teenager doing too much? Are they cutting themselves in two trying to do homework, study, visit pals and do after-school activities?

In some cases, teenagers need time to relax and be themselves without the added pressures of homework, tests or extra-curricular activities. If your teenager is overscheduled, then they are going to feel overwhelmed as a result of that.

Look at your family life and other things that may be happening in your teenager’s life and are they likely to be impacting your teen’s stress levels.

Teenagers pick up on everything and they may notice if parents are struggling financially or going through a tough time. All these things are factors in your teen’s life that can add to their worries. 

Look at their online activity.

We know that social media can be a good thing but, in some cases, too much social media can be overwhelming. Teenagers view influencers or friends with “ideal lives” and while this isn’t necessarily the case, teenagers can begin to wish their lives were different. Talk to your teenager about social media and remind them to follow inspirational people or those who make them feel good instead of feeling bad. Negativity won’t help their feelings of stress and overwhelm but with some positivity things can become a lot better. 

Manage the feelings.

Some teenagers find walking is good to de-stress and others will enjoy listening to music in their bedroom, watching a movie or seeing friends. You can encourage your teenager to consider mindfulness, colouring and reading or listening to relaxing audiobooks to help them manage the overwhelm of life. Other stress-busting strategies are Yoga, Pilates or exercise in general. 

If you try all the above and still your teenager is struggling, you should talk to your family doctor and get professional advice to help your overwhelmed teenager. 

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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