I can tell you that from my own personal experience that there is no doubt that school can be extremely stressful. I remember sitting in the library at Middle Tennessee State University with my head in my hands, a Starbucks coffee (with a shot of espresso) beside me, a Red Bull in my bag, 5 textbooks and several binders and papers surrounding the desk. I had 2 projects due, a TV news show to produce, and 3 tests to take all in the span of 3 days. To say I was stressed was DEFINITELY an understatement. Those students who are in college right now know exactly what I am talking about don’t you?
With the growing demands and expectations, high school can be just as stressful. High school is more difficult today than ever before. Not only are you taking honors/AP classes, you are dealing with extracurricular activities, after school jobs, relationships, and tons of social pressures. Everyone experience, respond and resolve stress differently. The main thing is that you deal with the stress. If it is not taken care of and stress continues it can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, lack of concentration, anger, sleep deprivation, and you can even get physically sick. I don’t know about you but none of those sounds fun to me!
Whether you are in high school or college I am about to give you some simple stress-busters to help you out. These suggestions are straight from people who have been through stressful situations just like you!
Here are what your Upward Bound staffers do when they are stressed out:
“My stress buster is praying for peace and comfort and reading a good book. :)”- Sandi Harris
“When I get a little stressed I tend to try and do something to keep my hands busy like sewing or cooking. If I am feeling like something is unfair or my life is difficult I mentally list the great things I have in life or a list of things that could be so much worse. It tends to put things in perspective. Truly though, my best stress relievers are my kids- a few minutes laughing and playing with them always makes me feel better!”- Amy Brown
“My stress buster is this: Enjoy the ride home, if you look around it really is a beautiful drive; start my 1-cup Keurig, have a cup of coffee with my husband and my dog, and once I am done with one little cup of coffee and a visit with my "boys" - I am all fixed up!”- Sandy Lewis
“My go-to stress buster is coloring! I am sort of a control freak so whenever I have a bad day, feel stressed or feel like things are out of my control, I go home and get out my trusty coloring book! After about an hour or so I have colored all of my stress onto the page and I feel ten times better.”- Abby Tackett
“When I get stressed, I go home, where it’s quiet, and pretty soon, things start to feel better. I paint, draw, watch a movie, or go fishing. Any of these things help me clear my mind and gets me back on a level playing field, realizing things could always be worse! You have to learn to let things go! Simply having a pulse, is reason enough to be thankful!” - David Alvis
See! Even your Upward Bound staff have to take a step back and de-stress! Now you may not have kids, have a dog, like to fish, or drink coffee so don’t worry here are some other stressbusters that you could take a look at. I tried most of these when I was in school and I carried them over with me to my job today.
Organize- Getting rid of clutter is a huge stress reliever! Get binders and divide your papers into subjects. Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to organize your area, room, backpack, etc. so that you don’t have tons of papers and books to look through to find something that you need.
Make Lists and Prioritize- Write down everything that you need to get done. Then prioritize that list. Start with the things that have the closest due date. Once you are done with that item, mark it off your list. You will start to feel better! But be realistic! Don’t think that you can finish everything on that list in one day. You are not a superhero!
Exercise- Exercising releases muscle tension and boosts up your energy. Go walk with friends, go ride your bike, jump rope or go to a dance class. This will give you a chance to clear your head. In the words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! And happy people just don’t kill!” Remember that quote!
Eat Healthy- It’s so easy to drive up to McDonald’s and get a couple of cheeseburgers and a large sweet tea, but try not to do it. Greasy and fatty foods can zap your brainpower. Grab fruit, veggies or a nutrition bar when you get a little hungry.
Sleep- Sleep is good guys! I know that we hated nap time when we were younger but you can make up for that now. Teenagers are among the most sleep deprived because you may be up late working on a paper that you procrastinated on or playing video games. Getting enough sleep with reboot your system and you will feel ten times better when you wake up. Also if you have a couple of free minutes, take little power naps throughout the day!
Learn How to Say “No”- Don’t get over-involved. Being involved in too many things will stress and burn you out quicker than anything else. You don’t have to join every club, activity or project. You don’t have to hang out with friends and family every single night. Re-evaluate your schedule.
Decrease Negative Self-Talk- For example don’t say “I will never make an A on that paper.” Instead say, “I may not be doing well in that class right now, but I can improve my grade on that paper if I get extra help and don’t procrastinate.” Talking positively to yourself will not make your concerns seem so suffocating.
RELAX- Practice some deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Remember if stress goes unattended to it can hurt you physically.