As kids across the country return to school in one form or another, they are under more stress than ever before. The strain of COVID-19, the rigors of remote learning, and learning how to, well, learn under this new normal can take their toll on students of all ages. All of that stress and fear can prevent students from taking care of their own personal wellness, which can lead to a variety of unhealthy circumstances. That’s why these tips for combating student stress are critical not only for good grades, but overall happiness, too.
Teenagers deal with stress levels rivaling that of adults, according to the American Psychological Association. Among other findings, the report stated that: “…during the school year, teens say their stress level is higher than levels reported by adults…” Their findings concluded that this can lead to unhealthy behaviors that include poor sleeping habits, skipping meals or overeating, eating unhealthy snack foods, over caffeinating and insufficient exercise. And not surprisingly, students feel the most pressure during exam times. A survey by Princeton Review found that more than 85% of American and Canadian college students admit to feeling increased stress and tension at exam time. Unhealthy habits combined with increased stress can lead to fatigue and heightened anxiety that can have a negative effect on test performance or quality of work.
Mannatech’s wellness experts put together some suggestions for students and anyone else on how to help reduce stress and deal with the pressures of school, work and life.
Take It Easy
Of course, you want your kiddo to do well in school, but having an A student shouldn’t come at the expense of their health. If a student is feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of earning the highest grades, they should talk to someone to identify the source of the stress. Since high achievers often put the most pressure on themselves, help your child understand that doing your best, especially during these times, is more than enough.
Get A Pet Or Plant
There’s a reason why more pet adoptions have occurred in the past few months than before. If you’ve been considering adopting a pet, now might be the time, since countless studies have shown that having a pet can be a great stress reliever. But before you run to your local shelter, make sure that your family is ready for a pet. And if you find that now isn’t the best time for a permanent pet, your family can always foster an in-need animal temporarily. It has been shown that if you pet a dog for a couple of minutes, hormones are released into your system that increase happy feelings and can contribute to lowering stress.
Students may not have time to stop their studies and exercise for hours, but they can still take regular breaks – every 20 minutes or so. Stretch or take a quick walk outside to get some fresh air and loosen your muscles. A regular exercise routine that is not interrupted by studies can be a great source of stress relief on an ongoing basis.
Sure, everyone should get their eight hours of shut eye come nighttime, but that’s not always a given. Stress can interrupt sleep, and if your kiddo is cramming for a test, sleep can be sacrificed. So keep an eye on your child to ensure that they’re getting enough sleep at night. It might mean adjusting their schedules and also limiting the amount of tech they’re exposed to before turning the lights off, since blue light can actually be a stimulant.
Pizza, candy, coffee, soda and chips are often staples for stressed-out students. While these may be convenient, a diet lacking nutritious food such as healthy sources of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables can lead to fatigue and weaken a student’s immune system. Even if your household is busy, try to prep nutritious meals so that everyone (including you) eats healthy.