Stress Management Tips from Wali Shah
As a public speaker and artist who performs at schools frequently, I see many young teens who are dealing with issues pertaining to anxiety and mental wellbeing, often due to stress. The following guide is my humble attempt to create a resource with three simple stress management tips for parents and teens to reference, especially as we head into our first full year of in-person learning since the start of the pandemic.
Writing and Artistry
Throughout my high school years, creative writing was a coping strategy for me in times of hardship. My parents never had the money to put me into any formal artistic training, but I discovered writing when my grade eleven English teacher gave me a book of poetry: it instantly clicked. The best part was that it was financially accessible. All I needed was pen and paper. Writing poems, songs, raps, and even journaling: these were things that allowed me to take my thoughts and feelings and transform them into art.
In times of stress, it’s important to find your own positive coping strategies. Maybe it’s singing along with your favourite band, taking photos outdoors or riding your bike. Find the things that help you to de-stress and disconnect from everything else that’s going on, even for a little while.
Gratitude and Perspective
Understanding how privileged we are is key to living a life of fulfillment. From time to time, all of us are guilty of being pessimistic and fed up. It could be a large workload, relationship issues, illness, and so on. The important piece here is to reflect in those exact moments.
It’s when we are sick that we realize how much our parents would do anything for us to feel better. It’s when we are heartbroken that we learn what we are willing to tolerate, or not tolerate, in a relationship. It’s when we have a large workload that we can appreciate having access to education, or to a job that allows us to buy the things we want and need.
When we struggle, we are reminded of our privilege to have that very struggle. Just as a muscle must be broken down before it can repair itself and grow stronger, we must do the same. With hardship, come lessons, gratitude, and ease.
Social Media and Time Management
Last, and arguably the most important of all, is social media and time management. This is something that has become more relevant than ever before. Video games are social, TikTok is the new way to learn, and Instagram is where all your friends send memes.
No one has time to keep up with all of that! We must be intentional with our time and whom we follow. We should aim to find good content from creators who bring a dose of inspiration into our lives when we are online. We should also set limits on screen time. Technology can take over our days if we let it. And it is exactly for this reason that we need to remind ourselves to breathe and remember the bigger picture. We live in the real world. Not a virtual world.
Make time to see your friends in person. Make time for school, work and family. Make time for your daily journal. Read physical books. Go for a walk without the phone. Prioritize these things over the mindless scrolling and distraction, and you will find yourself feeling less stressed, and more excited to live in the real world. Time is the greatest asset we have, and wasted time can never be brought back.
Try these tips and see what works for you! Everyone is different, and you want to find out where you feel most comfortable and what helps you to manage your own kind of stress.