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4 Stress-Relieving Exercises For Teens And Students That Can Be Done At School

4 Stress-Relieving Exercises For Teens And Students That Can Be Done At School

by Paige Gibbens, PT, DPTLeave a Comment

Stress is defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.” Stress occurs throughout life, for everyone. Stress is how a human responds and protects from challenges or threats. Stress can be a way to help people or things to grow stronger, but in moderation. There are many simple stress relieving techniques that can be utilized during the school day to help improve your day! Below are five simple tips and exercises for improving stress levels that can be done anywhere.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing can be done in a wide variety of ways. Two techniques that are simple and easy to do anywhere are box breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.

Box breathing: when you breath, you count to four with each step. Take a deep breath in for four seconds, hold it in for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and rest for four seconds. Repeat this as many times as needed.

Diaphragmatic breathing: when you take a deep breath in through your nose, you want to use your diaphragm by helping to expand your belly. The diaphragm works to calm the nervous system; therefore this breathing technique can help in times of stress.

Body Scan

Doing a body scan is an easy way to notice where you are holding your stress. When you scan your body, you want to start from the bottom and work your way all the way to the top. Start by clenching your feet and then relaxing them. Notice how it feels when they are relaxed. Do this all the way up through your legs, hip, belly, arms, neck, and face. Once you find a place where you feel you have tension, spend some time trying to relax those areas to provide stress relief.


Meditation does not have to be long and does not have to be drawn out. When you find yourself struggling with stress during the school day, close your eyes for 10 seconds and focus on how it feels to inhale and exhale. The breathing doesn’t have to be done a certain way. Just let your mind focus on your breathing, notice if it wanders away (and this is okay), then bring the mind back to the breathing.

Stress Relieving Stretches

Common areas that carry a lot of stress on a day-to-day basis include our neck, low back, and hips. Performing gentle, static stretching with a focus on the deep breathing mentioned above. These stretches can be done sitting in your chair and help to reduce stress by allowing the body to move as it needs and release energy, which is created by stress. You can determine what stretches you may need each day by doing the above-mentioned body scan.

Neck Stretch

Hold on to your chair with your right hand, bend your left ear towards your left shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat twice on each side.

Lower Back Bend

Sitting in your chair, widen your feet and reach your hands down to the floor until you feel a stretch in your hips and lower back. Hold stretch for 30 seconds and repeat twice.

Seated Rotation Stretch

Sitting in your chair, squeeze your knees together and give yourself a hug, turn to the right and take a deep breath, then turn to the left and take another deep breath. Hold for a deep breath and rotate back, repeat five times on each side.

Overhead Reach

Sitting up nice and tall, reach overhead as high as you can and pull your hands apart allowing your upper back to slightly bend backwards. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Sitting in a chair at the end, place one leg out in front of you with your heel on the floor. Place your hand just above your kneecap and put a little pressure on your thigh. From there, lift up tall through your spine and tail bone until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice on each side.


Stress can be a very challenge thing to navigate and manage. If you begin to feel overly stressed and feel it is becoming hard for you to manage, talk to someone. Talking to parents, siblings, a school counselor, or a friend could help when managing challenging times. If you feel as if you have a challenging time relaxing your body, contact the Athletico team to discuss options. A pain science specialist can help with reducing nerve system response and teach deep breathing and stretching techniques to reduce stress and improve your life!

Whether aches and pains are getting in the way, or you’d like to learn more stress management techniques, start the school year strong by connecting with a movement expert near you for a free assessment. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth Platform.

Request a Free Assessment

*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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About the Author:
Paige Gibbens is a physical therapist specializing in lower extremity treatments and is certified in dry needling and Graston. She is also the Missouri & Southern Illinois regional coordinator for Athletico's Endurance Program.

Read more health resources related to these topics:

GeneralStretchinghamstring stretchmeditationneck stretchstress relief

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