Back to School
How do you feel about school? Some people love it, others are okay with it, and some find it super stressful! I think at one point or another, many people would say that school can kind of suck, right?! There are crowds of so many people, lots of work, it’s stressful.
Articles show up all the time talking about how stress is bad for your health, this one here talks about how school and stress combine. WebMD defines stress as a flight-or-fight reaction, which, when long-term, can have emotional, physical and cognitive effects. It can cause insomnia, nervousness, low self-esteem and a whole slew of other things. Yet everybody experiences stress, so it’s normal, right?
Stress: Helpful or Hurtful?
The answer to that is yes and no. Stress, in moderation, is normal and potentially useful, but often the back to school rush, among other things, can cause chronic stress, and chronic stress is not very good for our overall mental and physical health. The American Psychological Association (APA) talks about chronic stress and believes it may be what has led to increased rates of obesity, heart disease, drug abuse and depression. Too much stress can also lead you to believe that it will never end, or to decide that it isn’t worth it anymore to even try. “It’s too much, so I quit.” I’m sure I’ve considered quitting school during exams almost every year, never seriously, but with just that hint of seriousness that I tend to pretend doesn’t exist. But while quitting may or may not work, it is always possible to find other ways to reduce stress.
Ideas for how to Handle Stress
1) Reduce your workload
Take a week off of work, or ask for reduced hours if you can. Maybe take that music course that isn’t really needed for your education but that you want. Perhaps you work at a high stress job, ask for a temporary or even permanent transfer to a less stressful section. Do whatever you need to get your health back on track.
Many studies show that stress is reduced with exercise and this article from the APA claims that 68% of teens who used exercise to manage stress found it extremely effective. The article also warns that many people feel less inclined to exercise when stressed, so you might have to force yourself.
3) Sleep More (in Moderation)
Now this one I recommend in moderation. Sleep can be very helpful in lowering stress, but too much sleep can be a sign of depression. Aim for a regular sleep schedule of 6-9 hours a night. By regular, that means avoid staying up late on a project of some sort. I am totally guilty of procrastinating, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Try and find a balance.
4) Mediation or Yoga
This article from Harvard Medical School claims that stress can be reduced through mindfulness-mediation. Anytime you can clear your mind is time you are spending not worrying about something. Though the article doesn’t mention yoga, I like to think of it as killing two birds with one stone – not only are you clearing your mind, but your body likes it too.
Connect with Others
So these are just a few tips and tricks that I and others have found helpful, there are many other options too. Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress. If you ever feel like the stress is too much, don’t be afraid to seek help. Don’t let the stress control your life. Talk to someone you can trust like a friend, family member, teacher or counselor (remember that many schools have counselors as well that you can talk to!) – find out what’s been helpful for them, or start something like going for a walk or yoga class together, or meet for lunch. Connecting with others to talk about how you are feeling, and to share ideas can be a great way to feel less alone and find new ways to deal with back to school stress.
Image retrieved from: https://www.psychdadphd.com/blog/2016/10/3/back-to-school-is-stressful