Everyone deals with stress. It is an unfortunate reality of human nature. There are expectations that aren't always met and events that occur outside of our control. For many teens, a large source of this stress is school-related. On top of juggling extracurricular activities and a social life, we have to manage homework and studying while trying to stay sane. Sometimes, when the workload seems endless, we can't even imagine how we will survive the week. Although stress is inevitable, there are a few steps you can take to make it a little more manageable. These seven tips are lessons I've learned on how to deal with stress more effectively.
1. Make a study schedule.
As annoying as it is to write down all of your assignments, putting what you need to get done on paper instead of keeping it in your head can be incredibly helpful. You can also estimate the time each task will take you so that you can plan when you will do each assignment. Writing this down will help you stop procrastinating and keep you from worrying about the lack of time you have. As an added bonus, there is immense relief that comes with crossing something off of your list.
2. Find something interesting in the material you are learning.
Part of what makes studying in high school so difficult is that students can't always choose all of the courses they take. Sometimes, the content in the courses that you didn't choose will not be your favorite. A lack of interest in the subject matter actually makes studying more difficult. When you dread doing the work for a class, it will probably take longer to do. To fix this problem, do extra research on what you are learning in class and relate it to something you are passionate about. This way, your homework will seem less like work.
3. Make time for yourself.
Try not to spend huge chunks of time doing nothing but studying. Taking a walk with your dogs or baking a batch of cookies will not ruin your grades. You will find that doing this will actually make you happier. Dance to your favorite artist's new album or catch up on your fantasy football. Schedule these short breaks at regular intervals to reward yourself. Just because you have a lot of work doesn't mean you should become a robot.
4. Don't keep talking about how stressed out you are.
We all know that person who can't seem to stop talking about grades and how much work they have to get done. I know that it is tempting to complain about your stress level and get sympathy from others, but eventually it becomes a competition of who has more work to do. There is no prize for winning this competition. People around you will be thoroughly annoyed and you will end up becoming even more stressed out.
5. Ask for help.
Sometimes, you have to admit that you don't understand something. Feelings of helplessness and confusion almost always lead to more anxiety. Don't wait until the day before a major assessment to seek out help. Instead of having these feelings build up inside you, ask a teacher or friend in your class for help as soon as you identify the source of your confusion. That way, your studying will feel more like review and less like learning something for the first time.
6. Say no to things you won't be able to handle.
We all have trouble saying no. However, sometimes it is necessary to do so for your own sake. There is a major distinction between hanging out with friends for an hour and going on a two-day camping trip on a work-heavy weekend. At the end of the day, you know yourself better than anybody. Find a careful balance between doing the things that you love and managing your workload.
7. Remind yourself that life moves on.
If you find yourself in a state of panic, take a deep breath and put your feelings in context. Better days are sure to come. You do not equate to a number written in red pen. In 10 years, you won't remember that one bad test. You will remember, however, all of the great memories that you made in high school. Don't forget to make these memories.