By Nikki Kontz

It is that time of year when midterm exams, worries about grades and a break from your daily connection with friends can all make spring an especially stressful and difficult time.

In fact, every year, Teen Lifeline answers about 10 percent more calls from teens just like you around spring break.

What can you do to help reduce the stress and anxiety you may be feeling?

First, recognize that happiness isn’t about just smiling all the time or being problem free. Life happens. And we all need some basic coping skills to be able to deal with the problems that come our way.

The next time you’re having a bad day, or feeling completely stressed out, try using these three skills to help make your problem seem less intense:

  1. Talk.Expressing your feelings can help you feel connected and understood. Identify some adults you would feel comfortable talking to about your problems. Like your parents, a relative, family friend, teacher, coach or even a leader at your church. If you can’t think of anyone you would be comfortable talking to, you can always reach out to one of our teen volunteers by calling Teen Lifeline at (602) 248-TEEN (8336).

If you’re not ready to talk about your feelings, writing in a journal can help you think through difficult situations or feelings.

  1. Find Solutions. The ability to overcome problems is a skill that will benefit you for your entire life.

When you’re faced with a difficult situation, brainstorm some healthy options. Many times, it can be helpful to talk it through with a caring adult. Then, think about the pros and cons of each option and decide how to address the issue you’re facing.

Know that you can’t fix every problem right away. You may need to rethink what you’ve learned and change direction or try a new course of action. That’s okay!

  1. Relax. It can feel overwhelming when you are in the middle of it all.Find healthy activities you enjoy to help you relieve stress. These could include: exercising, meditating, playing games, listening to music, dancing, drawing, journaling, reading or even watching Netflix.

These coping skills are helpful in dealing with any problem you are facing.  Sometimes it is just easier to talk to someone you don’t know and who gets what it’s like to be a teen.

If you need someone to talk to, please call Teen Lifeline at (602) 248-TEEN (8336) or (800) 248-TEEN. This 24/7/365 hotline is staffed by teen peer counselors from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. daily. Trained counselors are available at all other times.

You can also text with a teen peer counselor at (602) 248-8336 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. every day of the year.