HVS Counselor Newsletter

Being a teenager can be really stressful!

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Daily situations such as, taking tests or giving speeches, pressure to earn better grades, do more extracurricular activities, stress at home, financial problems, health issues, confusing dating relationships and just trying to figure out who they are, to name a few can build up. While each student will respond to stress differently, the impact of ongoing and/or unresolved stress can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, poor concentration, aggression, physical illness, fatigue, sleep disturbance and poor coping skills such as vaping or substance abuse.

Coping with Stress

Young people can benefit from learning and practicing skills to help them refocus thoughts, gain perspective and learn to breathe through the challenges and stressful times in their lives. Young people who learn healthy strategies to cope with life’s stressful moments can better navigate the teenage years and ultimately adulthood.

Some of these strategies may include:

  • Slow down, stay positive, and take steps to problem-solve
  • Asking for support from a friend or family member
  • Writing in a personal journal
  • Drawing or doing something creative
  • Exercising
  • Focusing on self-care (eating well, getting enough sleep, limiting caffeine and sugar, etc.)
  • Meditation or self-reflection
  • Avoid overscheduling

Huron Valley Counselors Promote Mindfulness

Huron Valley counselors work with students in a variety of ways to offer support and teach healthy coping skills.

Individual Support

School counselors are one resource to help students manage anxiety and stressful situations while in school. Sometimes teachers will notice a student feeling overwhelmed and send the student down to see his/her counselor. Sometimes the student self-identifies needing more help and they come down to the Counseling Office on their own (hooray!!!). Most often, a few minutes talking about the situation and the stressors can lead to some positive action that the student can walk away with. For those students who need more intense, regular therapeutic support, school counselors will provide the family with referrals for community-based counseling agencies.

Counselor-Supported Activities

Milford High School counselors and social worker provide a Mindfulness Group in which students learn mindfulness techniques designed to help students stop “what if” negative thinking and focus on the here and now. Breathing exercises, self-compassion and learning how to pause in order to quiet and calm themselves.

Oak Valley Middle School is having it's first Real Talk experience with all 8th grade students. Real Talk is a Caring Community initiative that aims to foster empathy and help kids feel connected to one another and the adults within their school community. During Real Talk students engage in many fun group activities and icebreakers, and then break off into small groups for meaningful discussions. Real Talk helps kids address stress, anxiety, peer pressure, and many other teen issues in a supportive environment.

Resources for Mindfulness

Mobile Apps:

  • Breethe: Free app for Apple and Android mobile devices.
  • Calm: Free website and mobile app for Apple and Android mobile devices with guided meditation and relaxation exercises.
  • Stop, Breathe and Think: Free website and mobile app for Apple and Android mobile devices for youth with meditations for mindfulness and compassion.

Printed Resources:

  • The Mindful Teen: Powerful skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, by Dzung Vo, MD (New Harbinger, 2015), is a mindfulness book for teens, with mindfulness instructions, guided mediations, examples and youth voices.
  • The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness and Compassion Skills to Overcome Self-Criticism and Embrace Who You Are, K. Bluth (Instant Help Books, 2017)
  • Growing Mindful: A Deck of Mindfulness Practices for All Ages (Growing Mindful Games, 2015) A deck of cards with short mindfulness practices to “cultivate mindfulness on the go” available at Amazon.com.