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When you’re experiencing a tough time or life seems particularly difficult, what do you do to get through the hard stuff? Try using some of the coping strategies listed below. They’ll help you to manage and relieve stress.

1. Talk to someone

Share your worries with a trusted friend, family member or health professional. It could take pressure off your shoulders, and they just might have some advice that you’ll find useful. It can be hard to open up, but we’ve got you covered. Try our five steps to talking to someone you trust.

2. Get journalling

Writing down your feelings can help you work out what might be troubling you and ways you can improve the situation. Don’t worry too much about what you write; just write down whatever comes to mind. Keep your journal handy so that you can look back at what you’ve written.

3. Self-love

You’ve gotta look after yourself! Try some regular exercise, or meditate, or listen to music. Do whatever makes you feel good, even if it’s only for five minutes a day.

4. Take a break

Don’t feel like you have to slog through the hard stuff. Give yourself permission to leave situations that make you feel stressed or angry. For example, if you’re in a stressful conversation, try leaving the room for a moment and only resume talking when you feel calm and ready.

If you're involved in group chats, it can get a bit overwhelming, especially when you're already stressing out. If this happens, you can leave a chat or set some boundaries. For example, you could let your friends know that you're not going to check your phone for the rest of the day or only look at messages at a certain time each day.

5. Be nice to yourself

How we talk to ourselves makes a huge difference to how we feel. Use positive self-talk to overcome negative thought patterns. Here’s some ways to talk yourself up.

6. Take a step back

Remember: you can’t do everything. Make a list of the things you need to get done, and work out a schedule that will help you get there. Don’t forget to schedule in some fun and relaxing times, too!

7. Think about the big picture

When you’re going through a stressful situation, ask yourself: ‘How important is this? Will it matter in the long run?’ Some people find it handy to ask themselves: ‘Is this going to matter in five years’ time?’

8. Focus on the positive

It can be so easy to get caught up in all the negatives. If you can find at least one positive thing about a situation (Is it teaching you something about yourself? Is it strengthening your relationship with someone?), it will help you to see a more balanced picture. This can be hard to do, but you’ll improve with practise!

9. Say thanks

If you’re feeling down, practise being grateful by writing down three things you’re thankful for. They can be really little things, like your morning coffee. Look at these gratitude lists whenever you’re feeling down.

10. Do something... anything!

When life is being a jerk, you might feel tempted to get back into bed, pop your phone on aeroplane mode and avoid everything. Instead, try breaking big tasks down into smaller, more achievable goals. Celebrating small wins (like finally doing the laundry) will help you to build confidence and stay motivated until life feels easier.

What can I do now?

  • Write a 'gratitude list' that you can read whenever you're feeling stressed or down.
  • If you're struggling, consider getting professional help.
  • Visit the forums to check out what coping strategies other young people are using to deal with tough times.