- Posted December 3, 2013 by
Strategies for Alleviating Stress for Busy Teens
Seventeen-year old David Katzman is a senior at Chantilly High School in Northern Virginia. He takes five AP courses, plays high school and travel hockey for the Reston Raiders, and is on the Board of his temple youth group. With two or three hockey games a week alone, he has plenty to keep him busy, then add schoolwork, socializing, and now college applications coming due, there is much to do and much stress to go with it., though he seems to be handling it very well.
Sister Caroline Katzman, who will be 14 in January, has an extremely demanding schedule as well, as a competitive figure skater and an eighth grader at the Edlin School in Reston, VA. She skates six days a week, including two weekend mornings when she is up before 5am to practice with her Team Ashburn synchronized skating team, and one day a week where she skates in the morning in addition to the afternoon, so she can fit in an ice dancing lesson.
In season she also plays field hockey and lacrosse for her school.
Both teens have personalities which allow them to deflect stress, including a good sense of humor and easy going nature. However, there are small daily habits, and some rituals they and the family have adopted to make their challenging lifestyle more bearable. David takes 20-minute exercise breaks, working out with weights, running, or most often shooting pucks outside. He also helps with household duties in short spurts of chores in between his homework and other activities. Sometimes he'll stand by the refrigerator for a game of "grocery catch" with his mother, Lisa. This way the mundane work of restocking the fridge is even a little fun and a welcome escape from stress of homework and other pressures. Then there is hanging out with Ted, the Wheaten Terrier, especially while doing homework, and engaging in other hobbies, as well as completely mindless activities like watching reality tv shows. Caroline likes to express her creativity while relieving stress by drawing, cooking, and baking. She also likes to play a little street hockey, toss a football around or play lacrosse with her brother, during short breaks in between homework and scheduled activities. Being at the rink so often, getting sun outside also helps keep her healthy and relieves stress!
Both kids also like to spend time together helping prepare favorites like tacos for dinner, and watching the Washington Capitals and Redskins. With dad Evan's frequent business travel and travel sports for the teens, the family schedule is hectic. But it is manageable with the right balance and short "sanity" breaks of exercise, helpful chores, and just plain mindless activities.