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How to Manage School Stress

Mar 26, 2019

Is school stressing you out?  Whether grades, problems with friends, finding time for homework or pressure to do well at a sport is causing you stress, you’re not alone.  As you get older and gain more responsibility, it’s easy to feel weighed down and overwhelmed by school’s demands.  The good news is, you can do some simple things to help deal with your stressful feelings.

Talking to others can help you deal with the stress in your lifeTalking to others can help you deal with the stress in your lifeCourtesy of Brooke Cagle

Good stress vs. bad stress

When the human body experiences stress, it has an automatic “fight-or-flight” response—It’s the body’s way of staying safe and helping you to do well under pressure.  Before a sporting event or performance, you might notice your heartbeat quickening, butterflies growing in your stomach or your palms getting sweaty. That’s your body’s physical stress response, and it’s normal.  Believe it or not, getting nervous before an event can be good for you because it can give you energy, motivate you and sharpen your focus, helping you to perform better.

Everyone feels stressed at school at one point or anotherEveryone feels stressed at school at one point or anotherCourtesy of Element 5

Chronic stress

When stress makes you constantly upset or depressed, decreases your energy or worsens your health, those are warning signs.  One large event, such as moving to a new school or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, can make your stress level rise to the extreme immediately.  In other cases, smaller problems will build up over a period of time, causing a chronic state of tension in your body and eventually wearing you down emotionally and physically.

Packing your school bag the night before can help you stay organized and less stressedPacking your school bag the night before can help you stay organized and less stressedCourtesy of Scott Webb

How to tell if you’re stressed

If you think school stress might be getting to you, ask yourself if you have any of the following symptoms. 

  • Upset stomach, trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue, crying
  • Forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, negative thoughts
  • Feeling “on edge,” depressed, or not having fun doing things you usually enjoy
  • Getting into more arguments with others, poor eating habits, or looking at other people negatively

Planning to do homework ahead of time can help ease anxietyPlanning to do homework ahead of time can help ease anxietyCourtesy of Kimberly Farmer

Managing your stress

Use these techniques to help reduce tension and give you more peace of mind.

  • Talk to friends, family, teachers or counselors. It’s okay to ask for help from someone you trust when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Take “mental” breaks to do something you enjoy, like listening to music.
  • Get enough rest and plan ahead.  For example, get your stuff ready for school the night before, try to do homework early, and use a planner to help manage your time.
  • Spend time with friends and family who love and support you.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Volunteer or help others.  Knowing you’re helping someone else can be a great stress reliever!
  • Find exercise that you enjoy and eat healthy.  Studies prove that keeping active is a better stress reliever than spending time on social media or the internet.
  • Write your feelings in a journal.
  • Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.

If you feel constantly upset, tired, or sad, those are signs you could be stressed outIf you feel constantly upset, tired, or sad, those are signs you could be stressed outCourtesy of Vadim Fomenok

Cleansing Breath

Use this relaxation tool anywhere, anytime you need it to calm down quickly.  You can do this in the classroom, in the hallway, at home, or whenever you feel yourself getting angry, anxious or overwhelmed.  It takes just a couple of minutes!

  • Inhale slowly through your nose for five seconds.  Pretend that you’re blowing up a balloon inside your stomach. Let your stomach expand as you breathe in, rather than your chest.  Think of pleasant thoughts:  the beach, sunshine, whatever makes you happy.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth for 7 seconds as the “balloon” in your belly deflates.  Now think of everything that’s bothering you, and let it float away as your breath leaves your body.
  • Keep breathing in and out slowly, visualizing pleasant thoughts as you inhale and exhaling your stressful thoughts.  Do this for as long as you like.

Stress can come from many different sources, or from one big eventStress can come from many different sources, or from one big eventCourtesy of Thomas Kolnowski
Share Your Thoughts

How do you deal with school stress? What tips do you find more helpful?  Comment below!