Healthy Ways to Manage Stress


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Tabitha Fitzgerald, Writer

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Constantly exhausted, both mentally and physically? There’s no denying it, high school can sometimes seem insurmountably stressful.  This may feel inescapable, as most of us spend four years of our lives dealing with this stress. Thankfully, there are many effective strategies that can help.

To manage your stress in a healthy way, the very first thing to do is to set aside a little time for yourself. If you’re constantly working or giving your time to others you will surely feel stressed or overwhelmed. However, I fully understand that finding time for yourself while on a busy high school schedule can be incredibly difficult to do with sports, homework, and other commitments. One way to work around this is to start by simply setting aside ten minutes for yourself, either before or after school. Most people can spare ten minutes, especially if that small amount of time can help to greatly improve your mental health, and in turn, your life. With this time, you could meditate, cuddle your pet, or simply stare at the wall and breathe. Just make sure to spend this time doing something relaxing that you enjoy.

Another good way to help manage stress is to take good care of your body. Try to get a little exercise every day, and eat relatively healthfully. I don’t mean that you have to run a marathon every day or go on any strict diet, I just mean to try and treat your body a little better. Maybe go on a walk after school, or simply stand up while watching tv, scrolling through Instagram, or doing your homework. If we try to develop some healthy habits, over time we’ll start to feel better. Exercise relieves stress by increasing endorphins, chemicals that make you feel happier, and decreasing chemicals that make us feel stressed, like cortisol and adrenaline. If you want to read a little more about exercise and stress, I suggest checking out this article by the American Heart Association: Exercise to relieve stress. Sometimes, however, we all just need to have a night with our friends Ben, Jerry, and The Office (and that’s okay). 

A third thing you can try is spending a little time outside. Simply going outside for a little while can help to lower your stress! Spending just 20 minutes outside every day can help you to feel dramatically better! Now, that may seem like a lot of time to take out of your day, but there are many ways to incorporate a little nature into your life! One way could be just eating your lunch outside, as this doesn’t take too much time and will allow you to get some fresh air and a break. Another option is to go on a short walk after school if you have a little more time. Going on a short walk will allow you to get both fresh air and exercise! If you’d like to learn more about how nature can relieve stress, check out this article from Harvard, Nature and Stress

Making time for yourself, taking good care of your body, and spending time outside can all help to relieve, or at least manage, your stress in healthy ways. High school can often feel overwhelming, but as long as you practice some healthy stress-management strategies, you can, and will, do well and feel great!