How to Deal With Stress


How to Deal With Stress

by Sunjuna Chalasani, Vice President of Membership

For many students, high school can be a very stressful time. Juggling school, work, sports, and extracurricular activities can leave very little time for anything but high levels of anxiety. As a result, self-care and mental health are often ignored only for the negative effects to become more apparent in the future. Stress, however, is something that can easily be avoided. Here are some tips to help!

Time Management is Key

Every teenager has heard this line before, but ignore the cliché and think deeper. Stress comes from being overwhelmed and for most teenagers, is a result of poor time management. According to the Huffington Post, 87% of students (high schoolers and college students) struggle with procrastination. Procrastination increases stress by escalating the time pressure to get work done. Delaying work only makes things harder for yourself. Good news! It only takes 21 days to create a habit like creating a routine that minimizes procrastination and eliminates stress. One way to reduce procrastination is to start holding yourself accountable. Tell a friend or family member what you are trying to do. This puts extra pressure on you to follow through with your plan. Make a to-do list so everything you need to do is laid out in front of you. Break down every big task into a couple of smaller ones so progress is more apparent. Turn off your phone and move away from possible distraction. This way even if you want to procrastinate, you can’t.

Get Some ZZZ’s

Sleep is a mechanism by which your body recovers and restores its energy reserves. If you are not getting enough sleep, your body will use its stress to keep you active and alert in the absence of stored energy. It is hard to get enough sleep when you are overworked and overwhelmed. An average high schooler needs about 8 hours of sleep, yet 1 in 5 get less than 5. Nobody wants to be sleep deprived and sometimes it is out of your control. However, with more sleep comes better grades, better mental health, and an overall better well-being. Start by developing a nightly routine and getting into the habit of going to bed at the same time; your routine should wind you down. Get rid of distractions that could hurt the quality of your sleep, such as television or phones. This might be difficult with school and other activities, but on most days it should be possible. Even on weekends. Don’t sleep in and waste the day because it disturbs your body’s natural sleep-wake rhythm. If you do feel like you need some extra rest, feel free to take a short 20 minute power nap, so you wake up refreshed.

You Matter Too

When stressed, self-care is often the first thing to go. The irony is self-care can be the solution to your stress. It is easy to become overwhelmed by life and forget about taking care of yourself. Take some time to truly relax and forget about the other things. Meditation and yoga are perfect activities to help you do just that. Meditating will aid in clearing your mind while practicing yoga will double the effect to ease your stress. Do anything that helps you rewind so you are ready to bounce back. Take a bath, drink some chamomile tea, treat yourself to your favorite meal, or read a nice book! One idea could be writing in a journal at the end of the day. Putting down what has been going on in your life can help you better visualize a solution and realize that a majority of the time, your problems or tasks seem bigger than they actually are. Sometimes you will need more help. Just talking to someone about how you feel can make an immense difference. They can help distract you from the cause of your stress or help release some of built-up tension by discussing it. When distraught, one’s ability to see clearly can be foggy and can cloud up judgement. Talking things through with a family member, friend, or even a trained professional, can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.

Maurice S. Henderson