Hi! Our names are Jessica and Ivonne, and together, we are the writers of the Churchillian advice column. We are extremely excited take part in this opportunity to share our advice with you- whether it be school related or personal questions, feel free to ask us anything! Please note that you are able to post anonymously. We hope you enjoy our posts!
May 13- Stressing Out Over Stress
High school is a difficult time for (most) students who just feel the need to succeed. It can be extremely worrying, nerve wracking, and difficult, causing a lot of stress. Of course, stress is small doses is harmless and even healthy, but minimizing stress to the lowest makes life just a whole lot more enjoyable. The stress of high school has definitely gotten to the worse of us at times, taking huge tolls on our grades and sanity, but we’ve gotten a lot better at handling it. Hopefully, some of the steps we took to rid as much of this stress as possible will help you out:
1. Identify the sources of stress in your life, and see if you can easily trump those stressful sources. For example, a simple change such as waking up earlier in the morning can give you enough time to get prepared for school, and thus help you feel less stressed about getting to school on time. As another example, if the stresses you feel are caused by unnecessary competition among your peers, always remember that everyone has their weaknesses and strengths and don’t dwell on what you can’t do- instead, focus and elaborate on what you can. This will help rid the feelings of stress caused by not “being good enough,” or feeling insignificant.
2. Express your stressful feelings to another person whom you can trust. We know that sometimes this may come off the wrong way and seem like you’re complaining, but know that everyone has bad days. Ranting to someone about your troubles really releasing you from all the burdens you may have, and you may just find some helpful solutions and advice when you talk to others. And besides, ranting feels good.
3. Manage your time better- more often than not, a lot of academic stress is linked to poor time management. When you’ve placed yourself in a situation where you’ve procrastinated or haven’t managed your time well, it is difficult to stay calm and collected. If you set achievable goals and plan your time wisely, a stressful situation can well be avoided. Other than good old self-control, the biggest thing that helped us manage our time better was avoiding Facebook. At all costs.
4. Give yourself a break, even if just for a few minutes. Just because everyone needs a break.
5. Set goals that are realistic. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once. Instead, divide your workload into smaller sections that are easier to complete. Know where your limits stand, and don’t try reaching for other people’s goals. When you do reach your own personal goals, acknowledge and reward yourself.
6. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation only aggravates any stressful feelings that you may have.
Hopefully these tips will help you to reduce stress. Always remember that unnecessary stress is usually the kind that can be prevented and is just that- unnecessary.
Q: I can’t seem to concentrate during the day. How can I get more energy?
A: Seeing as how stressful high school can be, long nights and heavy work loads can seriously take a toll on your energy levels throughout the day. Our tips (sans caffeine) are all quite obvious, but hey, they work:
1) Starting with the most obvious tip: make sure to get enough sleep every night. Of course, “enough sleep” varies from person to person, but try to get at least 7 hours of shut-eye each night. It may be a difficult feat to accomplish, considering the alienation of the word “sleep” for many students, but always remember to take advantage of every opportunity you get to sleep (though you probably don’t need reminding). Power naps lasting no more than 20 minutes also help a ton; however, the key here is to not nap for over an hour, as long snoozes may cause you to feel even crankier than you were before.
2) Make sure to eat well! Always have a well-balanced breakfast consisting of whole grains, fruits, and protein. Carry snacks with you throughout the day, keeping in mind that food high in protein and complex-carbs will help to boost energy. Water is also key in helping to keep you hydrated, awake, and alert.
3) Exercising everyday will help boost your concentration levels and also keep your energy levels high (too obvious, we know). Seeing that making room for sleep is already extremely difficult, taking time to exercise may seem of ignorance to prioritizing. Yet, exercising to keep you awake doesn’t necessarily mean completing hard-core, muscle-toning, full body workouts every other day- in fact, taking little steps like walking to a further bus stop in the morning and taking the long route to a class can help you stay energized.
4) Chew gum. Yeah, don’t know why this works, but somehow, it does (something to do with mind stimulation?).