This is a super stressful time of year for teenagers. It's the end of the semester, and there are final exams, papers, and class projects all due at practically the same time. So it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
You might not have learned many stress-reduction strategies while growing up, and these are an essential tool for your survival. So with that in mind, this blog offers some tips about how to fight end-of-semester stress and stay calm, so you don’t collapse from exhaustion when winter break starts.
(And if you’re reading this as a parent of a teen, know that you can model and teach these strategies!)
1. Breathe Deep:
Breathing deeply can literally lower your anxiety levels on its own. Taking deep breaths helps your body relax which will make you feel calmer. Taking time out to focus on breathing will also improve your physical health by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Try sitting in a quiet place for five to ten minutes every day, focusing on slowly breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will help calm your body and mind and give you a private moment to just sit and unwind.
2. Take A Break To Move:
Exercise releases endorphins that help decrease stress levels. So take a break every day to get up and move. It doesn’t have to be a traditional exercise that takes a lot of time; you can go walking, swimming, or play sports games on your gaming console. Make it fun—put on a dance-party playlist and jump around your room while enjoying the music. Movement will actually make it easier to remember what you’re studying and will keep you from sitting trapped at your desk for eight+ hours a day.
3. Set A Timer:
Do you sometimes feel like you spend all day studying but at the end of the day you’ve accomplished nothing? It’s really easy to lose track of the day when you’re focusing on work. Counter this by setting a timer for each task you start. Decide how much time you want to spend on each assignment and stick to it.
If you don't know how long something should take, ask your teacher, or just decide how much time you can realistically put towards this one task. It'll keep you from getting overwhelmed about everything you’re not getting done, and from overworking yourself because you don’t notice when you spend too long on a project.
4. Figure Out What's Actually Important:
Often, when we're overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, it's because we're worried about too many things—some of which are not actually important, to us or in general. Think about what's really going to matter to you in ten years. Remember that it's not always the grades that will be important in the long run, especially if you destroy your mental health to get them.
You need to spend time with friends and family to relax and fill up your emotional cup. At this stage of life grades can feel so critical and every class project feels like life or death. These things are important, but not as important as living a happy and healthy life.
5. Ask For Help:
It’s hard to admit you’re struggling because of stress. You might worry that people won’t support you or that they’ll just tell you to ‘suck it up’. But it’s important to have someone supporting you and offering you guidance while you navigate the end-of-semester chaos.
You can talk to your family if you’re comfortable with that, or you can talk to the guidance counselor or a counselor outside of school. You can talk to your friends who are going through stressors similar to yours. It doesn’t really matter who you talk to or who you ask. Just don’t sit on your struggles alone. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t help reduce the stress. Learn to accept the support of your loved ones and mental health professionals and get the help you need.
Stress can be a huge problem for teens, especially at the end of the semester. It's easy for you to get overwhelmed with all the pressure from school, work, and social activities, especially when life outside of school is also busy. But stress management is important; it’s critical to keep both your body and mind healthy so you can avoid future problems caused by stress. That's why we recommend figuring out which of these tips works for you and putting them into practice, preferably before the stress starts.
If you’re trying these tips or you just need more support, you can also get a therapist to help with your stress. At Marble Wellness, we specialize in helping people manage their stress so they can maintain their mental health. It’s important to talk to family and friends, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone safe you can talk to who will help you get through everything going on at the end of the semester.
If you think this kind of support would benefit you, your family can reach out to Marble Wellness. We will connect you to a therapist to get you the help you need.
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