As students, we have all experienced the effects that stress has on our daily lives. For many, the pressure to get good grades while simultaneously maintaining active social lives can be extremely debilitating. This type of stress can be especially prominent during junior and senior year, when grades become even more important and when college applications are right around the corner. Unfortunately, most students find themselves unable to properly cope with stress, which negatively affects their lives and hurts their performance in school. But there are many things that students can do to counter these effects and alleviate some of the common symptoms of stress. The following tips can provide students with several ways to add to existing stress management methods and suggest new ones as well.
Tip 1: Get enough sleep
Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night, but most high schoolers sleep much less than they should. It’s not uncommon for students to be sleeping 6 hours or less every night, forcing them to turn to caffeine and sugar to make it through the day. Although this lack of sleep is often inevitable, it is often caused in part by poor time management skills and procrastination. Sleep isn’t only good for managing stress — sleeping more can lead to clearer skin, an increase in energy, and sharper focus. Unfortunately, many teens are not as aware as they should be of how crucial sleep is to the mind and body. However, students with increased awareness have the potential to be much more productive.
Tip 2: Eat a healthy diet and exercise
Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t just facilitate weight loss — it also helps reduce stress. There are many high school students that don’t even eat breakfast, which can negatively impact both the mind and body. It’s essential that students eat a healthy breakfast so that they have the energy to get through the day. For example, data from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’s analysis of breakfast-eating on learning show that students who eat breakfast are more likely to perform better in school and are able to concentrate more. Having a healthy diet all-around is essential to countering stress, as eating unhealthily can cause adverse consequences, like weight gain, fatigue, and more. Exercise is also a good way to release endorphins, which boosts one’s mood and helps to clear away the negative emotions associated with stress.
Tip 3: Become better at time management
A lot of student stress is self-inflicted. While teachers can play a large role in their students’ stress by giving piles of homework, lack of time management skills can make the scenario much worse. Balancing work and rest is essential when managing stress levels. Getting homework done immediately after school is a guaranteed way to sleep earlier. If a person finishes his or her homework, doing something enjoyable, like spending some time on Netflix, is no longer associated with guilt and feelings of dread. Students can try making a schedule and sticking to it. This will result in a sense of accomplishment and increase productivity.
Tip 4: Cut the distractions
While phones are entertaining, having them beside you while you do your homework may not be the best decision. Most people instinctively look to their phones after getting a notification, which can spiral into hours of scrolling and wasting precious time. One way students can remove distractions is by deleting social media off their phones for certain amounts of time (often in the weeks before finals or big tests) to completely remove the possibility of getting notifications. This method is temporary but very effective because it allows the student to focus on their work without the risk of distracting rings or buzzes..
Tip 5: Spend time with friends and family
Finally, spending times with friends and family can reduce stress. Although college decisions can stress students out, talking about it with friends and family is often a healing experience. In senior year, all of your friends are going through the same exact feeling of anxiety. Confiding in people that can relate to the same struggles helps to relieve pressure that comes with getting into college or keeping up with school. Your family can also comfort you in these times. Being with loved ones is a guaranteed way to feel better and relieve the stress of being a student.
While the experience of being a student in Ridgewood High School can be daunting, it’s important to make time for relaxation. The stress may seem overwhelming, but learning how to deal with it is all part of the process, and will eventually help you become more physically and emotionally balanced.
Graphic: Nicole Kye