As if the back-to-school season wasn't stressful enough for you, if you have teenagers you know just how stressful it can be for them as well.
Teenagers face many stressors in their lives, including schoolwork, maintaining relationships, and college searches. The fall season is particularly angst-ridden for high school seniors as they complete their college applications and try to figure out what they'd like to do once they graduate high school.
Unfortunately, stress is an inevitable part of what it means to be a teen. And, regrettably, stress can lead to unwanted and painful headaches, which can interfere with daily activities. These headaches can also prevent some teens from engaging with their peers or actively participating in school and sports (they may even have to stay home).
Luckily, there are several delicious (and healthy!) foods that can actually help alleviate headaches. We also have a few other tips to help your teens relax and deal with their everyday lives - stress and all. Take a look at our list of 5 ways to combat stress-induced headaches.
1. Eat Foods Rich in Magnesium
Magnesium has been proven to be a crucial player in eliminating headaches. Among other benefits, magnesium helps the body regulate muscle and nerve function. It also helps relax excited migraine nerves. Therefore, stressed-out teens should add magnesium-rich foods into their diets, including bananas, avocados, nuts, and even dark chocolate. An added plus: Magnesium is known as the relaxing mineral and if taken at night before bed, it can sometimes help improve sleep.
2. Eat Foods That Keep You Hydrated
Foods containing a high amount of water can be beneficial in curing headaches, as sometimes dehydration can contribute to headache pain. Natural water, found in certain fruits and vegetables, provides important nutrients and hydrates the body. Delicious water-heavy foods include watermelon, berries, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. And, of course, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and focused throughout the day.
3. Get Plenty of Vitamin B
Vitamin B is vital to maintaining a healthy nervous system, and has additionally been proven to help headaches. Vitamin B also provides an extra energy boost to nerves, which helps to keep them from becoming overworked and overstimulated. Vitamin B can be found in foods such as almond milk, yogurt and cottage cheese.
4. Drink Tea and Coffee in Moderation
Another good option to turn to when seeking out a headache cure is ginger tea. Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and is known to alleviate headache pain caused by stress. Additionally, one cup of caffeinated coffee can also be a helpful aid. Just beware: Too much caffeine isn't good for you, so it's best to drink coffee in moderation.
5. Practice Yoga
Headaches can be painful and put a damper in your teenager's day. But, yoga and pranayama can help. For starters, deep breathing can help release tension from the neck, back, and shoulders, according to Shape Magazine. As far as yoga poses go, here at Pretzel Kids yoga we recommend legs-up-the-wall and restorative backbends over a bolster.
- To do legs-up-the-wall:
Start by sitting pressed up next to a wall - sideways. Then, lie down and swing your legs up the wall as you roll onto your back. This can be a bit tricky and you may need to use your arms to help press you closer to the wall. Ultimately, you'll be on your back with your legs resting against the wall (you'll look like the letter "L"). Once here, allow your arms to fall to your sides - fully supported by the floor. You can place an eye pillow over your eyes for deeper relaxation. Take about five deep breaths and then return to natural breathing. Stay in this pose for three to 10 minutes.
- To do a restorative backbend:
Start by sitting up and placing a bolster (the long side) up to your buttocks and very bottom of your spine (where it meets the floor). Then, lay back upon the bolster, so that it is spanning the length of your spine. Your back and head should be fully resting on the bolster in a supportive way. Your buttocks should be on the floor. From here, you can stretch your legs out and let your feet fall open to the sides. Your arms will be by your sides and you can turn your palms to face up. This allows the shoulders to gently roll open. You can place an eye pillow over your eyes for deeper relaxation. Take five deep breaths here and then return to a natural breath. Stay in this pose for three to 10 minutes.
While stress-induced headaches can be irritating and sometimes painful for many teenagers, here's where you can help: Encourage teens to munch on some of the nutritious treats listed above and maintain a healthy overall diet. And, of course, come together to practice helpful, relaxing yoga poses.
Emily Kitchin is a content writer at Pretzel Kids