10 Tools to Cope with School Stress
As we enter the beginning of the School year, it is normal for students to experience academic Stress and anxiety. While stress related to school cannot be completely eliminated, it can negatively impact a student’s academic, social, and psychological outcomes if not effectively dealt with. Even worse, school stress can discourage children’s curiosity and interfere with their passion for learning, only setting them up for negative outcomes later in life. A certain amount of stress is necessary in order for students to feel motivated to do their work to the best of their ability. However, there is a fine line between this optimal amount of stress and an amount of stress that is destructive. Students can start their school year off on the right foot by learning tools to cope with school stress. Discussed below are 10 such tools. These tools will not only pave the way for a successful school year, but the rest of students’ academic and professional lives.
Establish a bedtime routine and make sure you get enough sleep. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 years need 10-12 hours of sleep per day. Between the ages of 7 and 12 years old, children need 10-11 hours of sleep per day. Children older than 12 should be aiming for 8-9 hours of sleep. Not getting enough sleep not only leaves you feeling physically exhausted, it can also negatively affect your memory and concentration, leading to poor academic outcomes. A lack of sleep also interferes with your hormone levels, which can intensify the impact of anxiety. Children should try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. They should avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed. If possible, electronic devices should be kept as far away as possible while sleeping. It is recommended to engage in a relaxing activity before bed. Make sure that your bed is comfortable, the room is at the right temperature, and that the lights are off. When you feel refreshed, you also feel better equipped to handle any stressors that come your way.
Practice effective time management. When given an assignment, write it down in a planner along with the due date. Knowing when assignments are due will help you prioritize your tasks. It can also be helpful to get easier tasks out of the way first. When you have completed a task, check it off or cross it off in your planner, as this will give you a sense of accomplishment. If an assignment does not have an immediate due date, try to work on a little bit each night rather than procrastinating and cramming at the last minute. You can break the assignment down into smaller subtasks and aim to get a certain number of subtasks done each night. You’ll also want to allocate some time to not only completing assignments, but reviewing your notes daily. This will help you better retain the information when it comes time for the test. It is recommended to get as much done as you can earlier in the day, as most people’s attention span decreases the later it gets. You should also try not to over-schedule yourself. When you have an idea of how much time you need on homework, sleep, and other necessary self-care practices, you can schedule other activities around those.
Participate in extracurricular activities. While it is important not to over-schedule yourself, having some extracurricular participation is important. Not only do extracurricular activities make you well rounded and boost your college applications, they can also be enjoyable and provide a sense of community, both of which are essential for stress management. Extracurricular activities can take a variety of forms, such as clubs, classes, team sports, jobs and internships, and volunteering. When it comes to extracurricular activities, the only limit is your imagination. So whatever your interest, be it singing, dance, a musical instrument, soccer, cooking, books, writing, computer coding, public speaking, politics, board games, a foreign language, yoga, video games, or anything else you can think of, pursue it wholeheartedly! If your school does not offer a particular extracurricular activity, don’t be afraid to take the initiative to start something new. Find other interested students and talk to your principal about establishing a new club, organization, or class. You can also find opportunities in your community or online at Konversai—an online knowledge-sharing platform for any topic of interest. At least one night a week should be dedicated to an extracurricular activity.
Create an optimal study environment. Your study environment should be organized, quiet, physically comfortable, and free of any distractions. This means that mobile phones should be kept away while you are working. While your computer might be necessary for completing assignments, social media apps should be closed. Focus on one task at a time, and let others know when you are working so that they know not to distract you.
Spend time with family and friends. Family and friends provide an incredible amount of support and can help you through times of stress. No matter how busy you get, it is important to surround yourself with people who care and who understand what you are going through. If possible, try to eat dinner with your family or friends every night. Talk to them about any stress you are experiencing. Ask them for their advice and let them know what you need from them. You can also have conversations with them about any topics you find interesting. The idea is just to keep the lines of communication open. Social support is one of the most important factors in stress management, and family and friends can provide that for you.
Take breaks. Working non-stop is not only boring, it can negatively impact stress levels. When you have completed a task or subtask, give yourself a few minutes and take a break before switching to the next one. Have a snack. Call a friend. Play a game on your phone. Go for a walk around the block. Stretch. Give one of your parents a hug. Watch a funny video on YouTube. Read a chapter of a non-academic book. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. And yes, you can even check your social media for your latest stats and status updates. But remember, do not let yourself get carried away. Set a timer so that you know when it’s time to refocus. Celebrating small success by taking a break and doing something you enjoy helps you maintain motivation.
Know your resources. If you are struggling with a subject, know you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher for help. Teachers are always happy to help during class, during lunch, or before or after school. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your own teacher, you should also feel free to approach another teacher in the same department or grade level. For non-academic issues, your teachers, guidance counselor, principal, and other administrators can be good sources of support. Outside of school, your parents, other relatives, and friends can also provide you with help. Knowing your friends’ and family members’ strengths and areas of expertise will allow you to know where you can turn for support should you need it. You can also seek out resources online through Konversai—the world’s first one-stop shop for any and all personal human knowledge. The online platform connects knowledge providers with knowledge seekers on any topic of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. Whether you need help with math, French, or physics or just want to get someone’s advice on stress management, there is sure to be a user on Konversai who is happy to help. Anyone anywhere in the world can join Konversai. All you need is a device with Internet connection and Skype or FaceTime. Users can also be of any age, though users under the age of 13 must use a parent’s account. If you are strong at a particular subject and want to share your knowledge and help other students, you can also do that on Konversai, and you can charge as much as you want for your time. Do not panic. Whatever issue you are experiencing, there is someone out there, whether in your own town or halfway across the world, who will sit down with you and talk you through it.
Set realistic goals. If you set goals that are overly ambitious, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment, which can in turn make you more stressed. Therefore, set goals that you know you can achieve. For example, instead of aiming to get an A+ on your next assignment, maybe just aim to do better than you did on the last assignment—especially if it’s a subject with which you struggle.
Reframe negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are one of the greatest causes of stress. We all face setbacks and make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from those mistakes. Doing poorly on an assignment does not mean that you are not smart or even that you are a bad student. It means you have a better understanding of what you need to work on in the future. Whenever you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, ask yourself how you might reframe it for a more positive outlook.
Do your best. If you’ve done your best, no one can expect anything else from you. Konversai’s CEO and Founder, Sushma Sharma, ends her days by asking herself, “Did I do my best today?” Be honest with yourself about what your personal best is. If you can answer that question in the affirmative, then you are good. And remember, this is best by your own standards—not by anyone else’s.
While doing well in school is a goal all students should all work towards, life is too short to be stressed attaining this goal. The 10 tools above can help you effectively cope with school stress, putting you on the track for success during the school year and later in life.
Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or better yet, share them on Konversai. Any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences have value on Konversai and can be of benefit to someone. On the platform, you can build connections with people outside your existing network whom you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. By joining Konversai, you are contributing to a mission to democratize knowledge, put the human connection back into technology, and make the world better by enabling meaningful and authentic conversations that can enrich and improve people’s lives. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity. Join Konversai today—you never know where a conversation might lead.
From all of us at Konversai, have an amazing school year!
By Pavita Singh
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