Nothing Stays the Same

Coping with stress from school, family changes


Photo credit Taryn Holmes

Taryn Holmes, Editor in Chief

Everyone deals with change, but teenagers seem to deal with the most change of all. The definition of teenagers certainly seems to equal change. As kids slowly grow and become adults, they change on a physical and mental level. With the common theme of change in a teenager’s life, it makes other changing factors even more impactful. 

Teenagers throughout the high school constantly face new factors in their life. Parental  divorce. The adoption of additional siblings. The death of a family member. These represent just a few major events that make it seem as though nothing in a teenager’s life stays the same. Many times, change on top of stressful high school loads seems too hard to overcome and the light at the end of the tunnel slightly dims.

Sometimes a teen’s life flips all the way upside down. With the coronavirus shutting down schools, restaurants and stores, teenagers find it hard to cope with the quarantined way of living. Home isolation puts a damper on social relations, a major part of teenage growth. In the midst of this global pandemic, it is easy to feel alone and hopeless. 

But ways to overcome exist.

To battle the stress of change, acceptance of knowing that life never remains the same comes first. Simply accepting the fact that change happens and is inevitable, opens up various avenues to make the process of adapting easier. Keep routines intact. Stay as close to a regular schedule as possible. When teenagers feel like everything is changing in their lives, certain constants provide a balancing stability to what seems like chaos. In addition, keeping up things you can control, like  healthy habits such as exercising and eating well reduce the stress of any change, good or bad. Exercising provides an extra helpful outlet to cope with change because movement equals motivation. Even by taking a simple walk around the block, one begins to feel better. 

Take care of the mental stress of change by seeking support and looking for the positives of a situation. Everyone experiences change to different degrees, and everyone goes through the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies it. By allowing friends and family to support a teen during a time of change, the emotional and mental strain takes less of a toll. Even venting to a support group helps, not excessively, but talking about the experience and how it affects daily life to individuals who all feel change too, alleviates the feeling of a solitary struggle. Hearing that others also experience similar thoughts and feelings often provides comfort to those feeling alone in their battles. As much as friends and family help, the individual also needs to take certain actions against falling to the stress of change. Taking the time to think of or write down the positives of a situation helps put everything into perspective. Focusing on what comes next and future goals helps redirect scattered attention.

Different forms of change seem harder to find the silver lining in than others, but it exists nonetheless. Many fail to realize that change can be positive, it doesn’t always leave a negative impact. Maybe the change prompted a healthier lifestyle overall. Maybe it encouraged a more confident attitude. Maybe the change revealed the trustworthy people in one’s life. Maybe it revealed what requires the most priority or provided a new opportunity. But, good or bad, change allows people to grow. And personal growth is what we all need to work toward.

Change represents the everyday schedule of a teenager, and although it is constantly overwhelming, change sparks who the teenager becomes. As American novelist Erica Jong says, “I have accepted fear as a part of life- specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says ‘turn back’.”