Many studies have been made to show and prove that millennials – young people ages 18-29 – are the most stressed generation. However, it is obvious that the pressure begins long before they are already at the legal age – specifically during the teenage years. This raises a concern not only among the parents of the teenagers but among the society as well.This is mainly because pressure and stress are linked with the development of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and anger issues. These mental disorders might result to the danger of committing suicide.
According to Tiffany Young, Ph.D., LPC, “When someone’s mood or symptoms suddenly improve without cause, it can be a sign to concerned loved ones that the person is trying to convince those around them that everything is OK.”
Among the greatest causes of stress is academic pressure. In school, exam pressure and college admission anxiety are always all-time high stressors and can become major struggles for students as early as middle school. In addition to this, pressure and stress are not only experienced in the school but also within the homes. There are parents that strictly push students to boost their GPA and criticize less-than-stellar test scores.
With all the struggles of academic life, how do you cope with them?
A lot of stress is most of the time rooted from a cluttered work or way of thinking – resulting in the late submission of projects, cramming for exams, failure to submit requirements, and worse, having failing grades. One of the best ways to beat stress is to be and stay organized – not only on your study desk, but also on your trail of thoughts.
For example, put together a schedule of activities. List down all the things that you have to accomplish. Categorize them either by subject, deadline, or importance, and set deadlines for all of them. This way, you will have an overview of all your tasks – when the exams will be, when you should start reviewing, when are the deadlines for your projects, et cetera.
Aside from a schedule, your working space should be organized too. A messy desk is not a good sight and can also cause stress. Do this by spending the time to separate schoolwork and categorize them into subject folders. Create a space for school supplies, and throw away things that are no longer needed. This will save you time in finding all the things that you will be needing the next time you are about to study, start a project or do a homework.
Now, after doing all of these things, set the rules for yourself and make sure to stick with them. Turn off or put aside your cell phone when doing an important task or limit the time you spend on watching television or playing games. Focus more on what’s important to be done. You can do whatever you want when you’ve finished with your tasks anyway.
“Organization takes time, but when you get the hang of it, life becomes much easier,” says Paul Chernyak, LPC.
Being involved in extra-curricular activities such as organizations, clubs, and/or sports and hanging out with your friends are good to maintain social interaction. However, if these activities are gobbling up too much time, figure out and decide what you can afford to quit.
Are your friends inviting you to hang out for a while and try the new coffee shop downtown? Of course, you want to go. But with the pile of homework, projects, and upcoming exams on your desk, it is most likely impossible to join them. Always remember that it is okay to say “no”. Prioritize what’s more important and let go of the things that do not really matter.
Take diligent care of your health.
Stressful times might get you sick due to endless projects, homework, and exams which result to sleepless nights and (sometimes) forgetting to eat properly.
Bear in mind that, during these times of struggle, your body needs the nutrition and energy so you can have the fuel to keep going and eventually finish your tasks. Take a nap once in a while, eat fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
Remember to take a break.
When you’re stressed, your brain might not function properly because of lots of things that are going on in your head. But taking a break every now and then will help clear your mind and somehow relax. “People need time off from work to recover from stress and prevent burnout,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA. This could result in positive view of the situation, more result-driven thinking, and progressive work.
Go out and walk for a while. Play with your dogs, or spend quality time with your siblings. It is better to work with a clear mind than adding more stress to the situation. If you are struggling to deal with your stress alone, you can refer to online resources and professional psychiatrict help, such as BetterHelp, to learn more about coping with stress.