Stress. Just the word itself makes jaws clench, muscles tighten, hearts pound, and heads ache. With homework assignments, college applications, AP and Honors courses, community service, clubs, essays, tests, studying for the ACT and SAT, friends, family, sports, and extra-curricular activities, the life of a high school student is stressful. Stress, according to TeenHealth, causes health issues such as loss of sleep, decreased performance in school, aggressive behavior, overwhelmed feelings, and physical issues such as aching backs and bloodshot eyes. De-stressing is key for high school students in order to avoid these health problems and enjoy life. Here are some tips for lowering down stress levels.
1. Don’t procrastinate
Procrastination is the number one enemy of high school students. It’s so easy to ignore the pile of homework and college applications and instead watch Youtube videos for hours. But by procrastinating, you are adding more work to do in a shorter amount of time. This short time span to do a monstrous amount of tasks causes overwhelming feelings and increases stress. Once you receive tasks to do (homework, college essays, chores, studying, etc.), you need to tackle them right away. It might be tedious or boring, but once the work is done ahead of time, you will have that extra time to relax or do what you want.
2. Make lists and check off completed tasks
There’s so much to do in what feels like so little of time. Where to even start? Writing a list helps you organize and remember all the homework, forms, and activities that you need to complete. Once tasks are completed, crossing them off serves as a visual reminder that you are getting your work done and that you don’t have so much on your plate.
3. Eat and drink calming foods/drinks
Well, it’s time to study for a test; better break out the coffee and energy drinks and stay up all night. This isn’t the best idea. The caffeine in coffee and energy drinks can up the stress factor, since caffeine acts as a stimulus and makes the body extra alert. It’s better to drink green tea, which, according to Women’s Health, “is very soothing—it contains theanine, an amino acid that gives flavor to green tea and also promotes relaxation.” Eating favorite foods in small portions also promotes stress reduction.
Exercising isn’t only good for losing weight, building muscle, and losing fat, but it’s a great stress reliever as well. MayoClinic highlights three reasons why exercising helps eliminate stress: 1) it releases endorphins, 2) it’s a form of meditation and concentration, 3) it’s a mood booster. Exercise pumps up the brain’s level of endorphins, which create happiness and a “feel-good mood”. Also, you’re so focused on your body when you exercise that you forget the stresses of all the tasks you need to do. Exercise also “can increase self-confidence”, as low self-confidence can cause stress.
5. Indulge in your passions
When you feel like you’ve been working for hours and that you’re are about to explode, you need to take a deep breath, walk away, and do what you love. Whether it’s reading a good book, catching up on you favorite TV series, crafting, playing video games, hanging out with friends, or talking a walk at the beach or park, doing what you love automatically reduces stress. However, don’t get too caught up that you ignore your work and procrastinate; take these breaks every once in a while. Doing so not only breaks up the work and makes it seem like less, but you’ll feel happy doing what you love during these breaks.