Saumya Sankhavaram, MPH
Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
Ways to Reduce School Stress
Results of the Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey show that the number one source of stress for middle and high school students in Ashland is academics. Below are a few ways to help reduce school stress. Share with your children, especially the high school kids who have mid-term exams next week.
- Take time for self-care. Sleep (more than most kids think they need) and eating healthy are very important in reducing stress. Also, taking breaks to engage in a creative or active activity help digest what you have been learning and process bit.
- Learn to change your thinking. When thoughts turn to things such as, “I will never finish this paper/project”, or “I am going to fail this test”, come up with specific phrases to combat the negative thoughts.
- Take assignments one baby step at a time. Make a list of the steps needed to get an assignment or studying done. Breaking things down into chunks make them feel more manageable and less anxiety provoking.
- Lower your goals. This seems counter-intuitive and does not mean “become lazy”. But taking the pressure off to get a perfect grade can reduce stress and thus lead to better academic success. Instead of setting a goal to get a perfect score, set a goal to put in the effort and feel satisfied you did your best.
- Stay balanced during exam periods. No matter how hard you push yourself, nobody can maintain constant focus, and you will burn yourself out if you try. Take frequent, short breaks for fun activities so that you’ll be able to go back to your writing or studying refreshed. Do something you loved to do when you were six years old - play outside, do a puzzle, play a game, draw, color - to counter-balance stress and take a little break.