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Stress is the uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re worried, scared, angry or overwhelmed.

It is caused by emotions but it affects your body and mind. It may be your brain’s way of telling you that you need a break. Here is some information about stress and a few tips to help you stress less and be happier and healthier.

What causes stress?

Many different things can cause stress. It could be a physical cause (such as fear of something dangerous) or emotional (such as worrying about your family or schoolwork). Growing up can be stressful enough without the added pressure of being a young carer.

What does stress feel like?

People under large amounts of stress can become tired, sick and unable to concentrate or think clearly. Being stressed can really affect emotions and make us behave in ways that are out of character or more extreme than usual. Stress can also affect us physically. Some people get stomach aches or headaches due to stress.

What do I do when I feel stressed?

Try to work out what’s causing the stress and how to fix it. If it’s worrying about school, talk to your teacher about it. If it’s worrying about your parent’s wellbeing or sibling’s health, chat to your parents. If you would prefer to speak to a counsellor, check out our counselling section.

Here are some other helpful tips to reduce stress and look after your mental and physical health:

Get some Sleep – Sleep is important for our bodies to rest and recharge.

Think positive – It’s often easier said than done. However, it can really work! Try to take some time out to focus on something positive every day, even if it’s only something small. What good have you done today? What positives are around you?

Snack healthily – Try to eat regular healthy meals (including breakfast) and limit fatty & sugary treats. Snacks based on fruit, vegetables and whole grains are the healthiest choices and will help to get you through the day.

Switch off screens – Trade in your technology for the outdoors. Keeping active can help you to sleep better while also improving your mood. Find something you enjoy doing and make an effort to do it regularly, such as team sports, walking the dog, swimming, running or dancing.

Drink lots of water – Did you know that the average human body is 50-65% water? Water is the best way to quench your thirst and it doesn’t come with the added sugar found in fruit juices, soft drinks and other sweetened drinks.

Express your creativity – Draw, write, paint, sing or perhaps express your creativity through interpretative dance? Try something new and don’t be afraid to experiment. It is all about communicating your feelings through whatever means suit you best as an individual.

Practice mindfulness – Sometimes it might feel like your brain is constantly going, going, and going. Mindfulness means taking some time to relax by limiting your thoughts and focusing on your breathing. This might mean listening to music and chilling out, or doing some guided relaxation.

Create a support network – Whether it is a group of friends, your family members, a favourite teacher or a professional that you trust – it doesn’t matter – as long as you have a solid support network surrounding you. Make a list of the people you trust and services you can connect with. Remember these people care about you and you can talk to them.

Ask For help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness but a sign of immense courage. You are not a superhero and you do not need to fix everything on your own. Speak to someone within your support network or click here to ask the YC team. There are many different people and services available to help you and your family.

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