SVCE exams are just around the corner!
Is your teenager feeling like there is too much pressure and demand on them at the moment? Are they not sleeping well due to worrying about the VCE exams and fitting in all the study?
Are they eating in a rush, often irregularly, and mostly choosing to eat unhealthy quick sugary or fatty snacks because they are too busy? Have they locked themselves in their bedroom?
Any or all of the above may be signs of stress.
We all experience stress from time to time, however for teenagers stress can turn into stress overload quite fast, especially with fluctuating
hormones, demands and expectations from parents and teachers, part time jobs and pressure from numerous social media platforms. This stress overload can balloon and quickly become dangerous.
A normal stress response causes the nervous system and specific hormones to increase the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and metabolism. In small, short bursts this can be a positive driving force and enhance ones ability to perform or achieve their goals, however when stress is constant, this response does not turn off and the effect on the body and nervous system can be similar to an overheated engine. In this state, the immune system can become compromised and other health issues such as depression and anxiety can manifest.
If your teen is experiencing stress overload you may also notice any of the following:
- Irritability or moodiness
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Withdrawal from usually pleasurable activities or from friends
- Complaining more than usual about school
- Emotional outbursts such as crying or anger
- Inability to concentrate
- Stomach upsets/pain/headaches
- Muscle pain/tension
- Flare up of allergic reactions such as eczema
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Eating too much or too little
Our bodies thrive best with routine. Unfortunately when our lives become busy or stressful, our routine is thrown ‘out of whack’, as are our bodies. It’s important to keep regular meal times to help maintain energy and balance blood sugar levels, as these can effect mood dramatically.
Encourage your teen to avoid sweet snacks during the day and especially late at night. They may be tasty and quick & easy to eat but too much sugar does more harm than good and can add to the stress load by causing spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and mimic stress by causing irritability and anxiety. A doubly whammy for anyone already under stress!
Stress may be a positive, driving force that helps us achieve our goals, but when it turns to anxiety and has a negative impact on our lives, it is important to address it to avoid the development of other health issues. There are a variety of natural therapies and medicines Naturopaths use that can be very effective in alleviating anxiety and supporting the body during times of stress.
If you feel you son or daughter is experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms and may benefit from naturopathic treatment, consider booking a free 20-minute consultation to discuss treatment.