MIDDLE SCHOOL STRESS
Middle school is a busy time, full of new challenges such learning to develop healthy peer relationships and cope with the physical and emotional changes of adolescence. Sometimes it helps to know that feeling anxious or overwhelmed is part of being in a growth spurt and to know that it's normal to have lots of emotions when we are doing new and different things.
Sometimes, when we have experienced stress for a long time, our nervous systems become more sensitive. Things that didn't used to bother us, bother us now - and challenges don't feel comfortable. When stresses and emotions become uncomfortable or too intense to handle, there are some coping skills we can use to "calm down" our bodies and minds. The information and links below will direct you to some information and coping skills that may help.
Note: The Student Services Department at WLMS can offer referrals to students and their families to resources outside of the school setting which may be helpful. Please contact us about connecting you to some supports in the community.
** I will continue to add information to this webpage as I find resources.
When stress shows up, it shows up in our minds and in our bodies. The best way to cope with stress is to do something to help in both areas.
Physical symptoms of stress: headaches, stomach problems, difficulty sleeping, tight muscles, feeling antsy or fidgety.
When stress shows up in the body, we often need a physical activity to calm ourselves down:
do wall pushes or jumping jacks
do some movement or dance around
get some exercise or play sports
do some stretching or yoga
drink some water or have a snack
take a nap
Mental/Emotional symptoms of stress: difficulty concentrating, feeling of overwhelmed or frozen, feelings of being nervous or irritable or angry, expecting the worst to happen, trouble with our relationships, difficulty getting things done, feeling depressed or exhausted.
When stress shows up in the mind and emotions, using physical activity (like the things listed above) will help calm our nervous system down. Additionally, we can do other things to help our mind and emotions feel better:
talk to a trusted adult or trusted friends
ask for help
use problem solving tools (see links below)
do positive self-talk
learn something new
make art or listen to music
read a favorite book or watch a favorite movie (stay positive)
write an encouraging letter to yourself or someone else
do prayer or meditation to calm your spirit
Information for Middle Schoolers about Stress:
Stress and the Teenage Brain (a short youtube video summarizing the impact of stress on our brains and bodies)
What Is Stress? ( a short youtube video that describes the physical, emotional, mental impact of stress and gives some simple interventions for managing stress)
Coping with Teenage Stress (another youtube video that goes into more detail about coping skills)
Breathing Exercises for Calming Down:
4 Square Breathing for Kids (kid friendly youtube video to teach the technique - lots of other versions available online)
Rainbow Breathing (GoNoodle video that teaches this breathing technique)
Bring It Down (GoNoodle video that teaches this breathing technique)
Websites That Have Helpful Tools:
GoNoodle GoNoodle Sign In (free website for kids and families - especially channels related to stretching, mindfulness, focus, etc)
Stop, Breathe and Think Stop, Breathe, Think (free with in-app purchases - good app for kids, families, and educators - teaches emotional awareness and coping skills)
SODAS SODAS Problem-Solving Worksheet (a free problem-solving method that works for small and big problems)