Stress Management From Teenagers

Stress Management From Teenagers

One of the things I kept doing through the past difficult months was meeting with my Girl Scouts. It gave me a needed break to be with my three girls every other week. It also gave me a new perspective.

I didn’t suggest talking about stress management with my girls. I just had a momentary panic when I realized the planned meeting had been done two months before. So I reached out, and one of the girls texted back: “It’s AP Exam time. Can we talk about what we do to manage stress?”

I went with it.

(All of the names have been changed because I am dealing with minors)


Agnes is a very creative person. She loves activities that involve creating things – even when it is something challenging, like sewing, or completely outside her experience, like woodworking. Her number one stress buster: origami.

She pointed out that it is portable, absorbing, and useful for decorating wrapped gifts. She had us each try making a swan.

I had them try a new creative task: spirograph. A staple of my childhood, none of these girls had seen it before. They had fun (and frustration) making patterns. (Agnes went out and bought herself a spirograph the next day)


Annabelle is an animal lover. She enthusiastic about the work we have done with the local animal shelter, as well as creating various cat toys for them. She also loves hiking to see birds and butterflies.

Annabelle’s top stress buster is to watch cute videos. She showed us her favorites: kittens playing, baby otters swimming, and baby goats hopping around.

Dorothy is our media child. She is always finding things to watch. She suggested ASMR – videos of people doing ordinary things. She particularly likes the tapping ones. (This spurred a lively debate about whether or not listening to chewing is relaxing or annoying)


Both Annabelle and Dorothy are percussionists at their schools. Both of them recommended doing hand drumming to work out stress. No drum? Not a problem. They did an impromptu rhythm on the table and invited us to join in.

From there it morphed into energetic free-form dance moves. They put on some music and we had a five minute dance-a-thon.


We next tried a more sedate form of movement, yoga. I pulled out my iPad and we did 5 minutes of basic yoga, focusing on our breath. Agnes dropped out early, saying that it was making her more tense to not understand the poses. But the other girls kept on and learned how even some basic breathing and stretches can be calming.


I brought in my favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read this things dozens of times. It is so familiar that I can lose myself in the language, knowing that even if I can’t concentrate, I won’t miss anything.

The girls also agreed that reading an old favorite, or watching a favorite movie, is a good way to manage stress. “But not if it gets in the way of studying!”


Working with teenagers on stress management reminded me that sometimes the little things are enough to relax. Simple crafts, videos, drumming, dancing, yoga, and reading or watching an old favorite can all work.

— Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash —