Although some degree of stress is inevitable, there are many ways to manage your stress level and even transform it into positive action. In today’s guest blog post from the folks at bold.org, you’ll find strategies to deal with the stress and anxiety that ongoing events and even everyday life can cause us.
For students of all ages, stress is a very real part of life. It’s also entirely normal, so if you are currently dealing with stress, be assured that you are not alone. The current Covid-19 situation, coupled with uncertainty about the future, has made this a particularly challenging time for many people.
It’s a good idea to have a variety of different strategies at your disposal, as some days you may favor channeling stress into exercise, while at other times, meditation or stress relief breathing will be more effective. Most importantly, realize that it’s completely fine to ask for help if the stress becomes more than you can manage on your own.
Here are 7 tips to help manage stress at school:
1. Remind yourself that no one is perfect
School can be a very competitive place, with constant pressure to achieve. Between striving for excellent grades and extracurricular or athletic success, there just sometimes isn’t enough time to do everything. And even when you’ve tried your hardest, there will inevitably be some disappointments. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you’ll be able to effectively manage stress.
2. Take practical steps to resolve what you’re stressed about
One of the most effective ways to deal with stress is to turn that stress into action. If you’re worried about an upcoming test, spend an hour making flashcards and have a family member quiz you. If worries about applying to college are keeping you up at night, come up with a plan to finish your essays, request your recommendations, and find scholarship opportunities with plenty of time to spare.
This advice may seem obvious, but stress can often get in the way of action, leaving you unable to do anything except worry. Remind yourself that you’ll feel better if you take concrete steps to confront whatever is bothering you, rather than simply thinking about it. Knowing that you’ve put your best effort forward can be a powerful stress reliever.
3. Practice gratitude
When stress begins building up, taking a moment to think about everything you have to feel grateful for is an effective way to put stressors into perspective and compartmentalize the things you worry about.
There are several excellent ways to practice gratitude, but one of the most powerful is to spend a few minutes doing a gratitude meditation. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and allow yourself to experience feelings of gratitude for your surroundings, friends, family, and yourself. In just a few minutes, you’ll find yourself focusing on the aspects of your life that you are thankful for and that bring you happiness, effectively pushing negative thoughts away.
4. Make sure you have someone to talk to
Keeping your feelings of stress inside can make them exponentially worse. When you become stressed, discuss how you’re feeling with a close friend or family member. Although you may initially think that you don’t want to burden them, your friends and family will be glad that you felt comfortable opening up and happy to provide an empathetic ear.
5. Stress relief breathing
Breathing is the most vital of human activities, but we often forget just how essential breathing is for keeping one’s mind and body calm. If you’re feeling stressed, taking deep, measured breaths and slowly releasing them can help you relieve the tension in your body. Breathing for stress relief is an easy technique you can do anywhere, at any time, and you’ll feel the benefits immediately.
6. Take time for exercise, especially outside
The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, from releasing endorphins and improving your mood to helping you sleep better and feel more energized. Running, biking, playing a sport, or even just going for a short walk are good for your physical health, and they can also play an essential role in maintaining your mental health.
7. Accept that sometimes you can’t manage stress on your own
If you’ve tried all of these techniques but your stress levels don’t seem to be dissipating, you might want to consider seeking help from your school counselor or a therapist. Stress is a normal part of life, but if you’re dealing with chronic stress, or if the stress has leads to anxiety, you may need the guidance and support that only a professional can offer. Although you may be reticent to take this step, most people who meet with a counselor say they wish they hadn’t waited so long.
Talk with us: How do you manage stress at school? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @etherapyexperts