By Jenna Hanington
Have you ever been so stressed that you thought you might explode, or maybe just break down? You’re not alone. Stress affects everyone, and we all have different ways of dealing with it.
School can be stressful, no doubt about it. There’s the stress that comes from the pressure to get good grades, upcoming tests and projects, filling out college applications and competing in sports. Sometimes all of these things hit at the same time, which can make you feel like you’re holding the weight of the world on your shoulders.
There were a few times in high school when I really thought that stress was going to get the better of me. One night in particular, I remember sitting at my desk and staring at a long list of everything I still needed to do. Study for an AP test, do a math work sheet, finish a college application…and the list went on. Not to mention that I had a soccer game the next night and needed to be rested. Glancing at the clock, I realized it was already 10pm. It was going to be a long, stressful night.
Does this situation sound familiar? This was the first time that I really understood the dangers of procrastination. After staying up until 3 in the morning, I vowed to myself that I was going to make an effort to stop procrastinating. The best tool I found for this was to keep a planner for myself. I made schedules and “to-do” lists, kept track of when all of my school assignments were due and made lists of important application dates. Finally, I was on time for everything, and this made all the difference. No more late nights, no more rushed deadlines and no more “please keep me awake” bottles of soda.
Unfortunately, I sometimes found that keeping a planner wasn’t enough. Stress isn’t just about crazy schedules – we have worries that stress us out, too. Worried about what you got on your last test? Do you have try-outs for a sports team looming over your head? Take a few minutes and try some of the things that I used to do. I promise, they help.
- Blow off steam by taking a walk, going for a jog or lifting some weights. Exercise has that wonderful ability to take our minds off of the stressful things in life while keeping us healthy at the same time.
- Leave yourself 30 minutes to chill-out before bed (reading works for me). Having time to unwind is good for the mind and body.
- Schedule time to catch up with friends. Sometimes talking through the things that are stressing you out can help you put things in perspective.
- Take a power nap. A quick 30 minute nap can leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Penciling in these short activities can make you feel more balanced, less stressed out, and ultimately—healthier.
Jenna Hanington is a student at Georgia Tech studying Communications and Literature. She loves being physically active and spending time outdoors.