The holiday season is upon us and it can be a very stressful time for many teens and their families. Some families may have financial problems and the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping can heighten teens stress to an uncomfortable level. Or they may have divorced parents and have split holiday plans. Worrying about where they will spend the holidays can actually put quite a strain on teens.
It’s important to understand the amount of stress that teens are under during the holidays. The majority of their usual stress centers around social issues like peer pressure, bullying and homework, and then there’s the money issues that arise when parents and caregivers don’t have enough to get through the holidays. A recent survey done by the American Psychological Association showed that as many as 45% of teens reported that thy were under a lot of stress during the holidays. Unfortunately, less than 1/3 of the parents did not even notice that their teens felt stressed. Sadly, their stress does affect the quality of their lives as it was noted that 42% of teens complained of headaches, 49% mentioned difficulty sleeping, and 39% expressed that they have issues with eating properly.
Realistically, holiday stress is normal. Stress is a feeling that is created when we react to certain events. It is definitely a challenge to be faced with tough situations, but with focus, strength, and being aware of these challenges teens can navigate through the stresses.
Here are some ways that can help teens to deal with holiday stress:
Brainstorm some ways to do random acts of kindness. This can be anything thoughtful like helping others in need, writing a poem, adopting a pet, or making a bird feeder.
Smile and try to laugh at funny things. Watch comedian acts or listen to a favorite radio DJ show in the morning for some good laughs. Laughing is a great stress reliever.
Crank up some tunes and sing along to the lyrics and get really into it and start dancing around too.
Go to the gym and exercise. Try walking or running or anything that exerts energy. It will feel rejuvenating.
Binge watch some good shows. There are some great teens shows out there. Get caught up on Awkward or check out a new show like Finding Carter.
Take some time to learn about other cultures and how they celebrate during the holidays. There are many winter celebrations and customs from around the world that are very interesting to learn about.
Instead of staying up late online, try to get as much rest as possible. Plenty of sleep is essential and helps to keep stress away.
Get the whole family together to play fun board games like Monopoly and Scrabble. Having fun and enjoying family time together is a great stress buster.
Visit your local library and check out some good books over the holiday season. Enjoy the quiet space and ask a teen librarian what their favorite YA books is.
Here are five YA books that may fill your heart with comfort and joy. Everyone should take time to read and relax over the holiday season. Reading is considered a stress-reducing activity that can really make a difference.
Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. You can’t go wrong with this one! A trio of some of the greatest YA authors today have written a story with all of the magic of the holidays and brought them to life in three funny and charming interconnected tales that will warm your heart and make you smile all through the holidays.
Top Ten Clues Your’e Clueless by Liz Caukas – Chloe is having a bad day. Here’s why so far: Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day 5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market 4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of snarky coworker Sammi 3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat’ look after being caught in a snowstorm 2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3) 1) Being accused – along with her fellow teenage employees – of stealing upwards of $10,000 – Choloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) for the holidays. This day looks like a total disaster, but just might make her list of Top Ten Best Moments.
Decked with Holly by Marni Bates – Holly Dayton is about to have the time of her life… She going on a Christmas cruise with her two cousins, the worst brats ever and she’s worried that she is going to have a terrible time. Some funny things happen to Holly while she on this Christmas vacation that will have you rolling on the floor. There’s sea sickness, pepper spray, and just plain holly jollyness, and more. And when Holly meets a mysterious stranger who calls himself Nick her whole outlook on her holiday trip changes.
Last Christmas: The Private Prequel by Kate Brian – Ariana Osgood is the perfect girl, but on the frist night of Christmas vacation perfect goes out the door. She’s caught in a blizzard on campus with the ultimate bad boy Thomas Pearson. As the school turns into a winter’s dream, Ariana finds herself falling for Thomas. What both Ariana and Thomas don’t know is that someone is watching them so their secret will not be so secret anymore.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Lily has left a red notebook that has a bunch of challenges for whoever finds the book on the shelf at her favorite bookstore. She’s hoping the right guy will find the book and complete all of the dares. Is Dash the one that is destined to share her dares and dreams with her? Can they find each other through the exchange of notes or will they be destined to only know each other on paper?
—Kimberli Buckley, currently reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven