Coping with stress

Most people feel stressed sometimes – it’s completely natural. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with. Get our tips to help you deal with stress, no matter what’s causing it. 

Get stress under control

Sometimes stress can be helpful. It can motivate you to get things done. But it can also feel overwhelming or like you can’t cope.

But you can manage stress. And our tips can help you get it under control.

Things might not change straight away - you might need to try a few different things. But it will get easier. If you need some help, you can always talk to one of our counsellors.

6 things that can cause stress:

  • exams, homework or school 
  • family problems
  • arguing with friends
  • relationship worries
  • being bullied or treated badly
  • feeling like you have too much to do.


Writing a diary

When you’re stressed, you can sometimes be carrying around loads of pressure and negative thoughts. Writing your thoughts down can help you to let out these feelings and think differently

Writing a diary, making notes or drawing can also help you work out what’s making you stressed. You can then try to avoid these things in the future and know how to get support.

Exercise and sports

Exercise can help manage stress. Doing something physical releases chemical endorphins into our bodies. And these chemicals can help us cope with difficult feelings. 

You don’t have to be really sporty or competitive. Exercise can include walking, swimming, yoga, skipping, skateboarding and dancing. Find what works for you. Try a few things to see what you enjoy.

 Exercise has loads of benefits like:

  • making you feel less stressed
  • helping your mind and body feel healthy
  • keeping you focussed
  • calming you down. 

If you’re stressed, it might seem like you don’t have time or energy to be active. But even a little bit of exercise can make a big difference.

Problem solving  and planning

Sometimes problems can seem too big to deal with so we end up just worrying, without feeling able to solve anything. This can make the problem seem scarier.

It helps to break big problems down into smaller ones. It’s then easier to think of ways to solve them.

You could try:

1. Organising your day. If you have to revise or do chores at home, find a time when you're not distracted by TV, your phone, family or friends. Do tasks one at a time. Do something big, followed by a break and then something small. Breaks are important for rest and help you return to things with a fresh mind.

2. Planning things. If you have lots of homework or a big project for school, don't rush to do it all at once. Instead, give yourself time to do bits of work over a couple of days so you have space to think and focus.

3. Asking for support
Sometimes other people can help us. Think about what you need support with and who might be able to help. It could be a friend, someone in your family, a teacher or other adult you trust. Find out more about asking an adult for help.

Learning to relax

Relaxation means doing something safe and enjoyable which helps you feel calm. And relaxing activities can help you feel more focussed and able to deal with stress and worries.

There are lots of ways to relax. You could try:

  • meditation or mindfulness
  • muscle relaxation
  • breathing exercises
  • listening to your favourite music
  • having a bath

Try setting aside some time to relax every day. This could be in your break at school, when you get home or just before bed.

Want more ways for feeling relaxed? Or got your own tips to share with others? Check out our Hobbies and interests message board.

healthy eating and drinking

Eating the right food and keeping fit builds your strength and helps you cope with stress.

Eating sugary foods like chocolate and drinking coffee can make you feel better for a short while. But too much can make you feel tired and even more anxious. Replacing fizzy drinks and sweets with fruit and water may give you more energy.

Getting help with drugs, smoking and alcohol

You might try to cope with stress by drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs.

These things are popular because they can make people feel relaxed. But alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis and drugs are dangerous. They can make you lose control of your body, forget things and stop you from making proper decisions. 

You might also end up becoming addicted. Try talking to an adult to you trust or to our counsellors for help with other ways of coping.