Key tips in managing high school stress

Philip Kaul, Staff Reporter


As students progress further into the first semester, there is one word that is on every high schooler’s mind: stress. Meeting deadlines and balancing busy schedules can sometimes be almost impossible, and the work seems to exponentially grow. However, there are several stress management tips that can help you get through the upcoming tough weeks when it seems like nothing is going right.


First, it is important to set your priorities. This is important on several levels. Don’t take on responsibilities and activities that you don’t have time to complete. Nobody can do everything, and it is far better to drop something less important to you thus enabling you to focus on the things that actually matter.


Also important is prioritizing within the activities that you choose to do. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is okay to focus all of your efforts on only the important things and let the little things slide. You will feel better about getting the big things taken care of, and then the rest of the things don’t seem like as big a deal.


Another way to deal with stress is to look at one problem at a time. Whether it is homework, cleaning something up, or filling out a college application, it doesn’t do any good to worry about it all at once. Choose the most important one, then completely finish it. Then move on to the next thing. This way, you can really see the amount of things that you have to do decreasing, and you get motivation from totally scratching things off your to-do list.


Next tip: give yourself a break every once in a while. Take 30-60 minutes out of every day to do something low-stress and relaxing. Whether it is watching your favorite TV show, working out or just reading a good book, this time spent not worrying about other things will make you feel much better and help you be more productive later. When you find yourself running out of steam at the end of a long day, don’t push too hard. Take a break, relax for a little while, then attack the problem again with new enthusiasm.


In that same vein, it is essential that you get enough sleep. It is impossible to function at your best when you aren’t getting the rest that you need. Also, everything seems worse when you are tired. If you find yourself getting frustrated with little things that shouldn’t be an issue, you may just need to get a little more sleep. Once you wake up, it is easier to put everything in perspective.


Finally, if all else fails, talk to someone. If you have bitten off more than you can chew, see if there is a way to get a few deadlines moved to take a bit of the pressure off. Teachers will usually understand if you ask them for an extension during a stressful time. Just make sure you don’t make a habit of it.


Stress can build up quickly, and it is all too easy to forget what is truly important. If you set your priorities, give yourself breaks, get plenty of sleep and make sure that you don’t lose perspective, you will be much more effective at stress management.