Are you stressed out?
First round of mid-terms got you all in a twist?
Worried a bad grade might ruin your chances at getting into a good college?
We can’t eliminate stress from your life, but we can offer these five easy things you can do to manage it.
Five Simple Tips for Reducing Stress
- Sleep! Pulling all-nighters might seem glamorous, or cool, or like they’re something to brag about. And sure – an occasional all-nighter might be necessary. But sleep is way more important in the long run. Sleep is when your body and brain recharge. Long-term sleep deprivation leads to serious health problems, and short-term sleep deprivation leads to short-term decreases in cognitive capacity. Translation: if you don’t sleep, the next day your brain won’t work as well. Staying up all night to study for an exam might actually be counter-productive.
- Eat! Garbage in, garbage out: you might know this phrase from computer science. Feed a program junk information, what you get is junk results. The same is true for your body: feed it junk food, and the result you get is junk results. Feed your body good food – i.e. plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – and you get good results. Not only for your body, but for your mind. The next time you have a big test, make sure you eat a balanced meal the night before and a solid breakfast the morning of. It really does make a difference.
- Let Go! There is no such thing as perfect. If you’re constantly striving for perfection, we can tell you right now you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. No one can be perfect all the time, and studies show an overemphasis on achievement and perfection can lead to anxiety disorders, stress, and self-esteem issues. So the next time you’re freaking out about a big test coming up, be like Elsa: Let it go, let it go!
- Self-props! Give credit where credit is due. If you get good grades, congratulate yourself for them. If you constantly criticize yourself, figure out a way to restate that self-talk. There’s never any reason to beat yourself up about anything. Instead of “Omg I’m an idiot, calculus is beyond me, I’ll never pass,” try something like “Omg calc is hard but I’m going to get a tutor, work on it, and do my best.”
- Chill! Take a look at your schedule and figure out if you’re overextended. Even though you’re on the verge of adulthood, you’re not yet an adult. Don’t chafe at that fact: embrace it. Take advantage of the fact that you’re allowed – even expected – to have fun, be responsibly irresponsible, and do fun and frivolous things just because they’re fun and frivolous. Get the most our of the last few years of adolescence – responsibly, of course.
Like we said above: stress will never disappear completely from your life. That’s why you should learn to manage stress as early as possible – as in now – because a stressed-out teenager probably becomes a stressed out adult.
You know what they’re like, right?
We’re sure that’s not what you want to be when you grow up.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.