How to Beat the Stress of a New School Year
School's back in session and we all know what that means—stress. Lots and lots of stress.
Between adjusting to new classes, bonding with new teachers and just generally trying to keep your head above water, a new school year can always feel a little overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be.
Keep scrolling for our best tips on how to beat the stress of a new school year.
The best way to beat any type of stress is to stop it before it starts. And the best way to do that is to simply plan ahead. Most of the time stress creeps up on us because we feel overwhelmed about the sudden influx of responsibilities we have to take care of. After a lazy summer of lounging about, homework assignments and after-school commitments can start to feel like too much to handle.
Instead of waiting for all your obligations to build up and overcome your sense of reason, try to plan ahead. Map out your homework assignments a couple weeks in advance. Put your after-school commitments into your calendar so you can keep track of times you're going to busy and times when you'll be able to relax. By looking a few days or even weeks in advance, you can get on top of all your responsibilities instead of allowing them to pile up and bury you in stress.
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Planning ahead won't really help you if you fail to stay on top of all your responsibilities. Knowing that a big assignment or a crucial test is coming up doesn't mean anything unless you do something about it. That's where a schedule comes in. We recommend buying a planner and putting all your crucial information into it. Between any previously scheduled after-school activities, create designated times for homework, relaxation and hanging out with friends.
Once you have those times blocked out, stick to them. Even if you don't feel like doing homework or if you worry that you have too much on your plate for a little "me time," try to follow your schedule as closely as possible. It will help you balance all your responsibilities without getting too overwhelmed, and it will teach your the importance of maintaining a work ethic and sticking to a schedule. With a little time and practice, you won't even have to think twice about adhering to your set schedule, which will give your life the structure and balance you need to keep your stress levels at a minimum.
Create Time for Friends
Even though it might seem counterintuitive if you feel like you have too much on your plate, a big part of managing stress is taking a step away from your responsibilities and letting yourself have a little fun. If you spend too much time with your head buried in your school books, you're only going to exhaust yourself, both mentally and emotionally. And if you're too burned-out, you won't get anything done, which isn't useful to anyone, least of all yourself.
Therefore, it's important to make time for friends and fun activities. We're not saying you should let your schoolwork suffer for the sake of a night out with your pals, but we are saying that it's important to know when to take a step away and give yourself a break. If you've been studying for four hours straight, is a couple hours away from your notes going to make a big difference? Time with people you enjoy will help to clear your mind and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle any responsibilities that are still waiting for your attention.
Create Time for Yourself
In addition to spending time with friends and finding the fun in your life, it's also important to create time that's just for yourself. Friends are essential and a wonderful distraction from the stress in your life, but taking time to recharge your emotional batteries is equally as crucial. Take a warm bath, treat yourself to a spa night, read your favorite book, watch your favorite TV show—whatever it might be, make sure that you're still making time for the things you enjoy. If you let those moments with yourself slip away, the stress won't be far behind.
Take Breaks From Social Media
Whether we want to admit it or not, social media can be a huge source of stress in our lives. If you're feeling frustrated or sad, all your negative emotions can be tripled by scrolling through Instagram and seeing how happy everyone else seems to be. Therefore, it's important to know when you should take a social media break. If you feel worse after you get online, if you're constantly comparing yourself to other social media accounts or if you're spending too much time on your apps and neglecting other responsibilities, it's time to take a step away. You'll be able to focus on what's right in front of you instead of getting caught up in the online world, and you might just realize that you enjoy being away from your apps more than you think.
Only Do Things You Enjoy
School isn't always about doing exactly what you want. Assignments, tests and after-school commitments are non-negotiable responsibilities that you have to adhere to. However, beyond those things that you simply can't get out of, try to focus on only doing things that you want to do. If your friend is pressuring you into coming to the football game, but you'd rather enjoy a night at home, say no. If your S.O. wants to have a fancy date night but you'd rather snuggle up on the couch and watch Netflix, tell them. If you're constantly engaging in things that you don't really enjoy, it's only going to add to your overall stress and unhappiness. Be willing to be upfront about what you want to do and make compromises that work for everyone you care about. You'll feel much happier and healthier, and your stress levels will definitely go down, too.
Looking for more tips to start the school year right? Click HERE for 10 things you should always keep in your backpack that aren't related to school.