Friends can be a great source of support during stressful times. However, stress can also put strain on relationships, occasionally causing them to break down. It’s important to have some strategies for maintaining healthy relationships during tough times to help relieve stress and maintain support networks.

Year level



5 minutes


In class activity

Online learning

SEL Competencies

Relationship skills

Responsible decision-making

Learning intention

Students explore how to maintain friendships while stressed, identifying a range of stress relief strategies to utilise with friends.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify a range of stress relief strategies to try with a friend

  • describe how to maintain relationships while stressed.

Materials needed

  • Access to the articles ‘Friendship and exam stress’ and ‘Stress

  • Post-It notes or equivalent

  • Poster or communal space to display Post-It notes

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse the impact of changes and transitions, and devise strategies to support themselves and others through these changes (AC9HP8P02)

  • Examine the roles of respect, empathy, power and coercion in developing respectful relationships (AC9HP8P04)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate strategies for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety or wellbeing may be at risk (AC9HP10P08)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

    • Social awareness

    • Social management

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Examines and evaluates strategies to manage current and future challenges (PD4-1)

  • Applies and refines interpersonal skills to assist themselves and others to interact respectfully and promote inclusion in a variety of groups or contexts (PD4-10)

  • Analyses factors and strategies that enhance inclusivity, equality and respectful relationships (PD5-3)

  • Critiques their ability to enact interpersonal skills to build and maintain respectful and inclusive relationships in a variety of groups or contexts (PD5-10)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Evaluate strategies to manage personal, physical and social changes that occur as they grow older (VCHPEP124)

  • Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and wellbeing (VCHPEP127)

  • Evaluate factors that shape identities, and analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (VCHPEP142)

  • Examine the impact of changes and transitions on relationships (VCHPEP143)

Show details

Activity 1


5 minutes

  1. Provide access to the article ‘Friendship and exam stress’.

  2. Give each student a Post-It note and ask them to write down one thing they can do with a friend when stressed.

  3. Students place their notes on a poster to refer to in the future.

  4. Briefly discuss students’ ideas as a class.


Remind students that spending time with friends in a healthy relationship is a great stress relief tool. Also, encourage students to remember that it’s okay to want to have time away from friends to relax and regroup. Direct students to the article ‘Stress’ for some more ideas on stress relief, and remind them that it’s okay to ask for help from friends, parents or teachers.


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