School is kicking into gear along with sports, family and don’t forget your social calendar! You may notice feeling overwhelmed, anxious or not sleeping as well as you normally do or maybe even all of these things! In other words, you may be feeling stressed.
Consider the following to help stay balanced during periods of stress.
- Find out exactly what is expected of you and get clear understanding. Not knowing exactly how a teacher grades, or what your parents are expecting on a topic, leaves the mind to get busy trying to guess. Don’t do it. Find out! Ask and get clarity. It could be about that confusing assignment, or understanding what a parent or friend meant by that weird comment you heard. Clues may be that are feeling uncertain and awkward. Clarity reduces stress.
- Don’t take on too much. It’s far too easy to just stay up late, loosing valuable sleep. Do you really need to be facetiming with buds after studying for that science test until 11pm? Or attend that party at that guys house…you don’t even know him? Be sure you take care of yourself during high stress times. That includes sleep, eating well, and exercise! During times of higher stress, reconsider any “extras” in your days. Our bodies and minds cope best with rest, proper nutrition and those wonderful endorphins released during exercise.
- Set reasonable expectations for yourself. Planning on all advance placement or honors classes next semester? That’s a fantastic goal. I applaud your drive. Go for it! Be mindful of how you feel getting there. If you notice stress symptoms (anxious, nervous, a lot of worry etc.) associated with the goal…you may want to reevaluate. For example, you get a “B” on that English paper that you needed an “A” to cinch that recommendation…be forgiving of yourself, especially if you have done the work, studied and been taking care of yourself. Be thoughtful when working towards goals. It’s important to manage the stress and teach yourself to “think” your way to less stress. Yes…we create stress. So when it’s coming on strong, think to yourself “Why am I stressed”? Then “What’s the worst thing that can happen”? and “What’s the best”? Lastly, ask yourself “Have I done all I can to achieve the best outcome”? Once you walk through this…you may simply realize it’s time to stop useless worry so you can focus on the work you need to do…or relaxing if you have already done all the hard stuff
- Don’t forget to play. Have a long day of commitments with practice and studies? Break it down into segments. When you complete a segment, take a break, just 10 minutes to play with the dog outside, jump in the pool or text/chat with a friend. Grab a cold beverage and/or a snack and then get back to it! Keep on moving forward. Taking breaks rests your mind which allows for better focus and you just feel better having a little fun along the way. Breaking long days into segments, also reduces stress, as the segments feel manageable. So, that heavy loaded day won’t feel so weighty.
Take care and be well.