We all deserve a chance to lead happy, carefree lives when we’re young. The biggest impediment to this stress-free lifestyle is school and its accompanying problems. Looming college applications? Tests in the upcoming week? Participating in a ton of extracurricular activities? All have one thing in common: they make our stress levels go through the roof. As a student, it feels like there is no end in sight, no silver lining beyond the stress clouding our horizon.
If such feelings persist, the constant worrying can lead to burnout and paralysis. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to alleviate such pressure and take small but significant steps towards a stress-free lifestyle. This is vital for ensuring that students’ mental health does not suffer.
Take a break to take a breath!
It is essential to periodically take out time for yourself to do things that you enjoy. These do not have to be productive; just think of them as opportunities to recharge your mental batteries. The activities you opt for entirely depend on your choices. Here are a few suggestions:
- Indulge in a quiet and relaxing activity like watching a TV show or reading a book
- Explore the outdoors by going for a hike, or just take a walk in a nearby park
- Combine the social and the physical by participating in activities like team sports
- Listen to your favourite music and prepare a favourite snack, either just for yourself or your family
- Spend time with family and friends, and build a more active support network
Do whatever works for you. Just choose any activity that is markedly different from regular schoolwork or anything that is a source of stress for you.
The task of organising your belongings and the space around you can seem daunting. But taking some time out to regularly de-clutter your physical space really pays off. A de-cluttered space is pleasing to the eye, and it ensures that everything you need is readily accessible and doesn’t have to be frantically dug up when needed. As the saying goes, an organised space leads to an organised mind.
This applies to your physical as well as digital space. Have you labelled everything in your hard drive to be easily accessible? If you spend most of your time writing or studying at your desk, make sure it is comfortable. Make sure the lighting is right, your chair is supportive enough, and the height of your computer screen and keyboard is appropriate. Getting these things right will allow you to create your own little study bubble.
Get a good night’s rest
Adequate sleep is essential for staying mentally fresh and stress-free, and in turn, good sleep hygiene is essential for getting enough sleep. Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that help you have a good night’s sleep. While schoolwork, extracurricular activities, homework, a social life, and family obligations make it difficult to have the same schedule every day, you can prioritise a few things with a little effort for good sleep hygiene:
- Before bedtime, find creative ways to ensure that light and sound is blocked out from your sleeping space. Use earplugs, eye masks, or light-blocking curtains. Try to get your siblings to practice good sleep hygiene as well so their schedule aligns with yours.
- Do not drink beverages that contain caffeine late in the day. This means that tea, coffee, and soft drinks should be avoided.
- Stop looking at electronic screens at least an hour before you go to sleep. Turn off your television or computer, and put your phone in another room before getting ready for bed.
Just remember that a good night’s sleep will provide your mind and body with a solid foundation to deal with the next day’s tasks effectively.
Overwhelmed with stress?
When feeling overwhelmed, self-care and stress management become crucial. One approach can be to drop one of your existing activities. It will leave you more time and flexibility to balance other obligations. You can spend more quality time involved in fewer activities rather than burdening yourself with the excessive stress of extracurricular activities and spreading yourself too thin.
Next, you should talk honestly to the people in your social circle that you can trust about the problems you are facing. Your parents know you well and can come up with the most targeted advice for your needs. Your friends can also help you as they may be going through similar problems. Your teachers can assist you in alleviating your stress as they have plenty of experience dealing with such circumstances.
Always remember that too much stress can be detrimental for your mental, physical and social well-being. Start consciously adopting a stress-free lifestyle by testing out all of these tactics and stick with the one that calms you down the most.