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10 signs of stress and how to help

A levels can be an intense time. They bring huge amounts of study and increasingly complicated and focused work. They are a big investment of time and energy with potentially significant impact on a young person’s future.

Stressful? It certainly can be, that’s a lot of pressure for any of us and on young shoulders it can be a big weight.

Stress can be defined as:

…the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope.’ *

And, when you feel stressed, performance and wellbeing can be adversely affected so whilst a little bit of pressure can be motivating, stress is not.

Signs of stress can include:

  • Disturbed sleeping
  • Reduced appetite or over eating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of concentration
  • Drugs & Alcohol
  • Excessive worry
  • Missing deadlines, making mistakes

Everyone reacts to stress differently. What might feel intense but motivating to one person might feel just all too much for another. If you feel your teen is stressed and not coping there is a lot you can do to help.


Staying rooted in the present and aware of what they are doing and feeling right now can be really beneficial to a young person’s wellbeing. By increasing mindfulness young people can be aware of the NOW and this will help relax their overcrowded mind, often filled with worries for the future..They could try quietly sitting in the garden once a day, a  regular walk  to school really noticing what is around them, even a little baking - taking in all the lovely aromas. However it works best for your child, mindfulness is to be encouraged as a great tool to combat stress.

Encourage Good Health  

Staying healthy is also vital to negating stress; regular meals, fresh air and exercise and a good night’s sleep help the body relax and increase feelings of emotional wellbeing. It’s not easy to control what your teen does though is it?

Regular (happy and stress free) family mealtimes can really help encourage connections and a healthy diet,

Regular bike rides or walks together are another lovely way to reconnect and get some exercise and fresh air. Maybe you could help them find a sports club they are interested in?

Sleep is so important, you need to encourage your teen to keep to regular sleep and waking times and leave their screens alone an hour before bedtime. They may think they have grown out of it but a warm drink, a bath to relax that muscle tension and bedtime reading really do help.

Planning and Pacing

Stress often comes from being behind or trying to do too much. Planning and pacing study time can be really beneficial. It can help for them to have a study timetable into which free time and exercise is also built. This will help them stop panicking as they will know they have allotted time to do their work. It will also help them achieve more balance. This is something you could sit down and help them work out.  Maybe this could be a regular Sunday night activity to prepare for the week ahead.

It can be hard to advise young people of this age but do keep trying. If they learn to manage their stress now it will set them up in good stead for their working life and for the day they too are parents of teens.