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4 Stress Management Techniques for High Schoolers


a high school student walks alone in the library

Between busy extracurricular schedules and the pressure to achieve good grades, high schoolers are carrying a heavy mental load. According to an NPR poll, “Almost 40 percent of parents say their high-schooler is experiencing a lot of stress from school.”


The majority of that stress is coming not from bullying or social issues, but from the pressure to have a perfect 4.0 GPA. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to remove this type of stress completely. Grades are part of the high school experience. The good news is that there are ways you can manage your stress and improve your mental health.


These four strategies will help you prevent stress and deal with it as it comes.


1. Prioritize Breaks to Refresh Your Mind

Taking a break is similar to putting gas in your car. Without gas, your car won’t move forward. In order to keep making progress to your destination, sometimes you have to pull over and fill up the tank before you can keep moving forward.


Breaks are essential for good mental and physical health. By scheduling regular breaks into your after-school routine, you can prevent yourself from running out of gas. You may even surprise yourself and see your grades improve.


2. Avoid Overbooking Yourself to Prevent Stress

The most important stress management technique is planning ahead. At the beginning of every school year, plan your schedule around what it will look like in the busiest times of the year, not the lightest. Balance taking AP classes with classes that you enjoy. That way you’re still building your resume, while also leaving time for a little fun.


For example, if you’re taking AP Statistics, consider taking a lighter class like art as well. By balancing your schedule like this, you’re leaving enough time for your AP homework and working a small break into your school day.


3. Lean on Your Support Network

How would you feel if you found out your best friend was going through a really hard time? Of course you’d want them to lean on you! Your friends are struggling with the same pressures of homework and extracurriculars you are. Don’t be afraid to talk to them when you’re stressed.


Your parents can be your biggest advocate. Talk to them when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They may have some good advice or even a solution.


4. Start Journaling for Stress Management

What do you do if you need to talk to someone about feeling anxious or stressed, but you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable talking to? Journaling is a great way to get some of the benefits of talking to someone without fear of judgment. By putting pen to paper, you can watch your anxious thoughts work their way out of your brain and onto paper, where you can ball them up and throw them in the trash.


Recognize When Something Needs to Change

Learn to feel when you’re becoming too stressed. Recognizing when something needs to change early prevents you from burning out. For example, plan ahead for exam season by reducing extracurriculars where possible, start meditating, and make sure you schedule study breaks. The best stress management technique is to avoid getting stressed in the first place.


At LeadYouth, we help learners become resilient, confident leaders. Explore our Emotional Intelligence course.


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