10 Ways for High School Students to Manage Stress
Writing papers, studying for tests, juggling extracurricular activities, and researching your college options can be the perfect recipe for stress overload. You’re trying to balance your current life with working toward the future, and all of that work is exhausting.
If you’re a high school student preparing for college, look at this time as yet another growth experience. Learn to manage stress now, and you’ll be ahead of the curve when you get to college.
Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. Facing a large task can provoke anxiety, but it isn’t so bad if you break it into smaller parts and then tackle those one at a time. For example, instead of writing “study for the SAT” on your to-do list every day, focus on smaller tasks such as “review quadratic equations” or “work on test skills”.
Speaking of that to-do list…. Make one! Don’t rely on your memory, because stress can actually erode that function in your brain. Keep a to-do list, or use smart phone app to track tasks.
Schedule time to relax every day. While you’re making that to-do list, remember to pencil in some down time, too. Otherwise you might find yourself facing scheduling burnout.
Make copies of important papers. Losing an important document has to be one of the most stressful situations, especially when you face a time crunch. Make copies of any important documents, just in case they are lost in the mail, misplaced, or accidentally soaked in coffee.
Reframe problems as challenges. Adopting a positive mindset can change the way you approach stressful situations. Try to view problems as challenges that you can overcome, and you’re more likely to face them with optimism.
De-clutter your life. If your desk is a mess or your backpack is stuffed with three-month-old worksheets, clean them out! You will feel so much better when everything is in order.
Develop a Plan B. Stress is often the result of trying to force our lives to go in a particular direction. Always create a Plan B, and focus on the positive aspects of it. If you don’t get into the college of your choice, for example, having a really terrific backup school can soften the blow.
Laugh. Watch a funny youtube video, share a few humorous memes, or call that class clown buddy to chat. Laughter really is the best medicine for stress. You get bonus points if you can learn to laugh at your challenges.
Get some exercise. Exercise is one of the best stress busters. Even if you can only go for a 20-minute walk, get outside and do it. You will feel so much better.
Reach out to someone else. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our own problems, that we build ourselves a little cocoon of misery. Immerse yourself in the outside world. Ask a cashier how they’re doing, make eye contact and smile as you pass strangers on the sidewalk, and don’t be afraid to talk to a friend if you’re feeling stressed. Solitude really does make it worse, and even casual social contact can help more than you would think.