Finals are around the corner, which gives many high school students a great deal of stress as their entire grade may change with a single test. It can be extremely difficult to stay calm when the tests are combined with extracurricular activities and heaps of homework. Although stress is very common, many students don’t know how to deal with it.
Junior Shaenna Soon, a full IB student, is often stressed out. She doesn’t have many ways to deal with the stress, and this negatively affects her life.
“When I’m really stressed I don’t have an appetite, and I don’t eat; so that’s not good. I had to end up forcing myself to eat,” Soon said.
Stress is known to have this negative impact along with weakening your immune system, causing headaches and triggering anger and depression. Students need to learn to recognize that they are stressed and then work on way to ease it. They may feel like there is no way to deal with their emotions, but there are many things that they can do. It is possible to feel relaxed before finals.
Sophomore Maria Lopez doesn’t get stressed that often, but she definitely understands how annoying it can be to deal with.
“…I try not to let it get to me. When I’m really stressed, I get cranky and don’t want to talk to anybody,” Lopez said.
“I do get stressed when I gave a lot of quizzes and tests coming, and also when I have a lot of homework. Or if there is friend drama,” Lopez said.
She does have some advice to deal with stress.
“Don’t freak out; finals are not as bad as everybody makes it. Study, but don’t overwhelm yourself,” Lopez advised.
Teachers, counselors, and common sense advise students not to cram all their studying in the night before. They will feel a lot less anxious if they spread their workload out. When students study, do their homework, and ask questions, they realize that they actually do know everything, and they have no reason to fear. Students are capable of getting a great score on the test; they just need to put the work into it.
Counselor Leanne Bradshaw has some advice for dealing with stress. She understands that stress is a problem that a majority of high school students deal with and how hard it can be at times.
“Managing your time is critical. Working on something a little every day instead of cramming it in is much more effective,” Bradshaw said. “If you have trouble with procrastination, reward yourself for the little things that you get done. A project or a final can seem like an elephant, so you need to break it up into little pieces.”
“If there are things that you are unsure about, if something is going to be on the finals, start asking now. There are upperclassmen who have had the class before, teachers and help sessions. Worrying about it is going to cause more stress than if you just asked the question,” Bradshaw said.
One of the most important things that students should remember is to have the ability to recognize that they did their best, and then let go of the outcome. Nobody can control every little thing. Students should try to let things go, move on and improve from their mistakes and congratulate themselves on what they did right.
“You are going to do the best you can [on your finals] and just give yourself a pat on the back afterwards. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing,” Bradshaw said.
Stress is an annoying part of life that we all struggle with, but you are not powerless. There are ways that can reduce the stress. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try these techniques.
Five Ways to Deal with Stress
1. Take deep breaths and meditate
When we are stressed out, we often breathe shallowly, which doesn’t help the stress and may make it feel even worse. To solve this, remember to take deep breaths throughout the day and try taking some time to meditate. There are many different ways to mediate, but a common way is counting your breaths up to 10, then starting over again. Meditation has scientific backing behind it that says it relieves stress.
Exercise has also been scientifically proven to alleviate stress. When you get your heart rate up and exert yourself, chemicals are released in your system which helps you feel better. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time, it will help a lot if you can incorporate some exercise into your schedule. Trying going for a jog or perhaps just a quick walk. Yoga is also really relaxing, and can be good for those who don’t enjoy traditional exercises.
3. Focus on one task at a time and try to manage your time well
Figure out what is due/happening when, and focus on the most important things first. Write things down that you need to get done for the day and break down those tasks into smaller chunks so they don’t feel as overwhelming. Do one bit at a time and try to not procrastinate. If you have feel the urge to do so, remind yourself how awful you’ll feel if you don’t just bite the bullet and do it.
4. Take a break every once in awhile
You are more productive if you have a break, so take a five or ten minute break after studying or doing work for an hour. Watch a video or eat a healthy snack. Just make sure not to overdo it and start procrastinating. Keep an eye on the clock.
5. Talk to friends, family, or a counselor
When feeling stressed, you may feel as if you have to deal with all your problems yourself. This is not true. Talking to other people will give you support for what you are dealing with and provide some relief. It’s much better than to try to shoulder everything on your own.