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Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness month and now, more than ever, we need to engage in the conversation about stress-management and self-care. The pandemic has brought out the worst in most of us and children seem to have suffered badly as the result of this. From having to adapt to an entirely new environment that is governed by rules most of us are unaware of, children and teenagers have had to attend online school and deal with the usual pressures of school life in a different atmosphere. This is in addition to the struggles of socializing made ever more difficult through lockdown rules and keeping up with lessons in a different format.

The unprecedented conditions that have been brought on by lockdown have pointed out the flaws in our system of teaching self-care and stress-management during difficult times. This article will delve into the causes of stress in children and teenagers, the importance of stress awareness and how it can be practiced in order to ensure relative peace in the face of turmoil.

Causes of stress A study conducted in 2000 revealed that children in the 1980s reported higher or similar stress levels to patients in psychiatric hospitals in the 1950s. It’s safe to say that since no major measures were taken to reduce these stress levels, they have only increased since then. Children and teenagers of the modern- day face stress on many levels with the rise of technology and a shift of priorities.

The primary causes of stress in children revolve around school. The issues that cause this stress rage from minor to major triggers. A common cause of stress is homework and everyday schoolwork. Healthy levels of stress may help children stay on top of their work and do their best during exams, but when a certain level of anxiety is reached, this may turn toxic. With children and teenagers, thoughts often turn inward, and to recognise this early is to avoid unnecessary negative consequences. For example, when a child seems to fail at a subject in which they are otherwise proficient, they may begin to doubt their capability and reconstruct their entire self-evaluation as a result.