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Coping with stress while in school
by TeenHelp January 1st 2018, 08:17 PM

Coping with stress while in school
By Dez (Onism.) and Cassie (cynefin)


Going to school can be a stressful time but it is important that you find ways to reduce or eliminate some of this stress so you can stay healthy and happy. This article discusses some of the ways you can reduce some of the school-related stress in your life.

Eliminating stress

There are many things you can do to reduce the overall amount of stress you are feeling.
  • Use a planner to organize your schedule. Writing down assignments, appointments, and other obligations in a planner will allow you to arrange your schedule in a way that is not overwhelming. Set aside time for work or assignments, but also be sure to dedicate some time to have fun.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on being in the moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. One way to practice mindfulness is to watch your breathing. When you are feeling stressed, take a few minutes out of your day to just breathe. Take a deep breath in and hold it for five to ten seconds before slowly releasing. Do this a few times and focus on being where your feet are.
    This article further explains how to practice mindfulness.
  • Find a calming hobby. Hobbies such as coloring, listening to music, or reading a book can help relax you and ease your mind.
  • Challenge negative thoughts. This can feel difficult to do at first but it is important to practice positive self-talk. When you notice that you are thinking negatively, start telling yourself all the reasons why this thought is untrue. Remember that you are doing the best you can, and that is what is important.

Utilizing resources at school

Remember that you do not have to go through this alone, and there are people you can turn to that can help you manage your stress. Whether you are in middle school, high school, or college, there are people ready to help.
  • Use your school’s counseling center. Many colleges and universities provide their students with counseling services that are free or offered at a reduced price. The counselors here will help you cope with what is going on and help you find ways to manage your stress. These conversations are kept confidential unless they feel that you are a danger to yourself or others.
  • Talk to a guidance counselor, school nurse, school psychologist, or school social worker. Your school’s guidance counselor, nurse, or social worker is a great resource for getting tips to manage stress. It is important to remember that if you talk about harming yourself or others, a school guidance counselor, nurse, school psychologist, or social worker must report this. However, most other topics can be kept confidential.
  • Talk to a teacher or professor. While speaking to a teacher or professor can be useful for getting extra help with material you do not understand, you can also speak to them about how you are feeling. Teachers and professors genuinely care about their students and in most cases will be willing to lend a listening ear.
  • See a tutor. Some schools have a tutoring center. Even if your school does not, there may still be a tutor available who can help you learn class material and complete your assignments.
  • Talk to a friend, family member, or classmate. It is possible that a friend, family member, or classmate has had similar experiences and can listen to what you have to say.
  • Look into education plans. You may benefit if you can construct an Individualized Education Plan, or an IEP. This is a plan that you put in place with the school in order to help you learn. The plan includes the services that will be provided to help you progress. Note that different countries may have different educational plans.

Coping during school

Coping with mental health issues during school can be especially difficult; school in itself can be stressful enough without anything added to it. Below are a few suggestions about coping with struggles during school, or during a class.
  • Talk to your teachers ahead of time. If you're comfortable, speaking to your teachers ahead of time can help them understand that something may come up. This could make it easier for you to cope when things do surface. What you choose to share is up to you. However, if you do not know what to say, you could let your teacher know that you struggle sometimes and discuss what would be helpful.
  • Practice grounding techniques. Grounding techniques help to stimulate the senses, thus keeping you more present in the moment. You can practice different techniques while you're in class to help you feel more grounded and focused. For example, you could chew a piece of gum, feel your feet on the floor, or feel different objects such as pencils, folders, or binders.
  • Bring something comforting to school. Keeping a small, safe object with you can help ease your nerves when needed. For instance, you could carry a worry stone, a bracelet, or a little stress ball around with you to keep your hands busy while you're studying.
  • Step out of the room if needed. Sometimes a change of scenery can help tremendously. Get a drink of water, use the bathroom, or simply walk throughout the hallway for a few moments until you feel ready to return to your classroom. This is an example of what can be written within an IEP.

Coping with test anxiety

Test anxiety can be difficult, if not debilitating, for people who experience it. Here are some tips to make test taking less anxiety provoking.
  • Eat healthy and take time to rest. Your brain needs food and rest, so take some time to make sure those needs are met. Your brain and your test results will thank you!
  • Keep yourself prepared. Staying prepared can mean anything from picking your clothes out the night before to making sure you have extra pencils on hand. Being ready for the day can help relieve some of the anxiety you're feeling.
  • Try to keep yourself comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes, or take the test in a quiet area that has limited distractions if you are able to. Sometimes even the smallest things about yourself or your surroundings can make a world of difference.
  • Practice good test taking skills. Remember to read the questions carefully, and use your time wisely. If you do not know the answer to a multiple choice question, use the process of elimination. Skip over questions and return to them if you are able to.
Final thoughts

Going to school while you are struggling or learning to live with mental health issues can be quite challenging. Push yourself out of your comfort zone when you are able to but also know what your limits are. Utilize some of the suggestions above to see if it helps you become more successful in school
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