Stress: We all experience it

While students navigate online learning, many students are having to explore mitigation strategies to manage their stress.

Photo by Maya Waid

While students navigate online learning, many students are having to explore mitigation strategies to manage their stress.

Maya Waid, Editor-in-Chief

Everyone is aware of the ongoing pandemic. For almost a year, we have felt trapped in our homes with the safety of our loved ones in the back of our mind. But how many of our activities have stopped? Yes, you can choose to not participate in things that are considered high-risk, but for most high schoolers, now is the time to go, go, go, more than ever. 

For anyone that has not experienced virtual learning, it’s hard to explain. Teenagers roll out of bed to simply grab their computer, turn off their camera, mute their mic and “go” to class. While teachers do their best to engage students in conversation and virtual activities, teachers really don’t have any control over whether their students are asleep, paying attention or out running errands in the middle of the day. 

Even for top students, motivation is hard to come by. Some students are home alone all day while others balance a houseful of siblings and family during class. Unlike normal school, the work is never ending. It feels like even if we are “working ahead” there’s always more. So how do we get around this never ending cycle of stress? 

1. Set a cut off time

It’s not even remotely reasonable to expect students to do work from 8am-10pm. As someone who has done it, it’s not recommended. Yes there is always work to do, but it will be there tomorrow. It is not going anywhere. Setting a schedule for yourself and building in breaks can help to relieve the “always working” feeling. Take a lunch break and talk to someone in your house, call a friend or watch an episode of your favorite show. After school, take twenty minutes to rest your eyes before getting your homework done. Tell yourself no matter how far you get with work, you have to be done by 7 p.m. While your schedule may look different around work or sports, don’t forget that sometimes it’s okay to just breathe. 

2. Do something active

You’ve probably heard it from your counselor, parent or even social media, but get up. Move your body. I promise it doesn’t have to be more than a walk around your house. Taking the time to change your setting, burn a few calories and just do something other than starting at a computer screen can boost your mood and energy levels. If you’re more into two hour workouts after school, go for it. If you need a quick change, move to another room between classes and try to get up during class changes everyday. By exercising even just for a few minutes, your body produces more endorphins. These “feel good” hormones can decrease your stress levels and make you feel happier. Now more than ever, we all need a little bit of that. 

3. Spend a little time with family or friends (in a safe manner)

We can’t all necessarily see our family and friends whenever we want. However, if you are able to do so while taking the necessary precautions, make time to be social. One of the things we have missed most is the social aspect of school. We didn’t even really comprehend how much school was being with your classmates but after almost a year seeing the same few people and maybe a classmate here and there, it gets pretty lonely. If you are still unable to see family or friends, this is where your phone comes in handy. Make the facetime call, reply to the text, take a minute to call back everyone you have missed calls from. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but even a few minutes talking to your best friend, a family member you haven’t seen in a while, or just texting with an old friend can boost your mood. While you’re at it, try and talk about something other than school. Take your mind off of your situation for a while. Yes, it is perfectly okay (and healthy) to talk about how you are feeling and what you are struggling with, but just let the conversation take you where it does. Soak up any social time you can get.

 4. Take some “me-time”

Everyone’s life looks a little different right now. Some of us haven’t seen any friends in a long time and some of us are back into sports and hold a part-time job. Whatever your crazy looks like, take some time for yourself. Anything from planning a good movie night or just taking a hot shower and doing a face mask,  some self-care and a moment to relax might be one of the best things you can do for your mental health. While it may seem like maybe all you do is relax at home or you have no time to stop and take care of yourself, making ten minutes before bed to read a book is just as good for you as having an at home spa night. Whatever your “me time” is, building some once or a few times a week is one of the best ways to destress. 

Hopefully you found one or a few tips that can take off some of your stress. Keep reminding yourself that there will be a time where this is all history. Find something everyday to look forward to, now that I have said my peace, I’m going to take some time for myself, too. 

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