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 make you feel like you can’t cope.

But you can cope. You can learn how get stress under control.

Our tips can help you. They might not change everything straight away. It can take a few goes. And it’s a good idea to try a few different things – not just one. If you need some help, you can always talk to one of our counsellors.

6 things that can cause stress:

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


Writing a diary

Writing is good. Or drawing. You might not think it at first, but it really helps.

When you’re stressed, you’re carrying around loads of pressure and negative feelings. And it’s not good for you to feel like this all the time. So writing your thoughts and feelings down can help you feel like you’re letting go of the stress.

Writing a diary, making notes or drawing also helps you see your situation in a different way. It can help you notice things that make you stressed. And that means you can try to avoid them in the future. Or find ways to get support with things.

Exercise and sports

Exercise is important for everybody. Doing something physical releases endorphins into your body. Endorphins are chemicals in our brains which make us feel happy. And this helps to beat stress.

Exercise has loads of benefits like:

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

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

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 trying to solve anything. This can make the problem seem scarier.

So it helps to break big problems down into smaller ones. And then think of ways to solve these smaller problems. 

You could try:

1. 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.

2. Organising your day. If you have to revise or do chores at home, find a time to do this when you're not distracted by TV, your phone, family or friends. If you find it hard to manage your time, don't start one thing while you're in middle of something else. Organise tasks so you do something big, followed by a break and then something small. Breaks are important for rest, eating, playing and taking time out from something difficult.

3. Asking for support
Sometimes other people can help us. Think about what you need support with and who might be able to give you advice or 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

Finding some time for relaxation can help you beat stress. And help you feel more focussed and more able to deal with anything that comes your way.

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 from school or just before bed.

healthy eating

If you're eating the right food and keeping fit, your body will be strong and help you to cope with stress.

Eating sugary foods like chocolate and drinking coffee can make you feel better for a short while but when you have too much you can start to feel more tired and anxious. What we eat has a big impact on our moods. And eating unhealthily can stop you having the strength to deal with stress. If you replace fizzy drinks and sweets with fruit and water you may find that you have more energy.