Thanksgiving break went by in a blink of the eye. The four-day vacation allowed students to spend time with family and friends. Though relaxing, returning to school can be challenging.
With the gap in learning, teachers tend to cram in an immense amount of material before and after the break. With studying comes inevitable stress which can be overwhelming following a vacation.
We use the word stress weekly, if not daily, – “I’m so stressed, this homework is stressing me out, my classes give me so much stress, etc.”
But what is stress?
According to Cleveland Clinic’s website, “stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response.”
For instance, if a student receives a small amount of homework at the beginning of the year, but later in the year begins to receive several hours of homework a night, they will have to adjust to the situation, an adjustment that many would consider stressful.
While sometimes demotivating, stress can also motivate students to be more productive and finish their work.
Stress often has a negative connotation, but the human body is trained to experience and react to daily stress, such as exams or more work than usual, according to an article by the Cleveland Clinic.
The article also states, “that stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds.”
Students, especially high school students, regularly experience stress – usually, the stress starts off as being healthy and eventually with problems like procrastination, the stress becomes more overwhelming and anxiety-inducing.
Unlike any other age of humans, millennials face the most stress, according to the American Psychological Association, which could be because millennials face the stress of college.
According to the Understood Team, “common stress reasons are fear of failure, tougher academics, and more responsibilities, social pressures, uncertainty about the future and concerns about college,” which are all directly related to college.
Though stress, especially at the high school age is hard to defy, there are ways to survive and reduce it.
Time management is a clear way to prevent most stress in the first place – by managing your time effectively, and not procrastinating, last minute pressures can be significantly reduced. Psychology Today states that is important to make clear goals and priorities in order to monitor how much time goes to each activity.
According to WebMD, ways to manage the stress that is already in your life include exercising, eating well, making time for hobbies, and talking about your problems.
Though exercising itself needs motivation and commitment, working out helps clear the mind, relax the body and even improve the mood. Exercise doesn’t have to be a high-intensity workout, any physical activity to get one’s mind off of their worries is the goal.
Eating well goes hand in hand with exercising. Meals that are rich in protein, and have lots of grains and vegetables provide a lot of energy. Though it is common to do so when running short on time, skipping breakfast is one of the worst things to put off in the morning; without proper energy, stress levels stay the same and sometimes even increase.
One of the biggest stress-relievers is to set some time aside for hobbies. Though hobbies do take time out of one’s day, these activities can be relaxing for the brain and body. Common hobbies include reading, playing a sport, singing, or even just watching TV.
Talking about what is causing stress is a good way of venting feelings and reducing stress; positive conversations with a friend or family can lighten someone’s mood, which in turn can help boost confidence levels and lower any school anxiety.
Stress is just one of the side effects of going to school and instead of getting bogged down and surrounding yourself with negative thoughts, remind yourself that stress is actually healthy as it keeps your body in check of its responses from time to time.
To avoid the negative sides of stress, learn to control your time, useful tips to manage stress, and most importantly, embrace it as it is a part of making everyone stronger and resilient for the future.