As the year winds to a close, anxiety-producing situations abound. Say “Hello” to Emily, who doesn’t want to spend her whole winter break studying for exams or getting organized, despite the best intentions of her parents and tutors. Meet Jordan, who is frantically trying to produce the perfect college essay by the January 1 deadline or he won’t get into a good college and then won’t be able to get a good job and might as well just kiss his dreams goodbye. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad are struggling to organize the holidays on a budget, while balancing out of town visitors, teenage drama and their own careers. Is your blood pressure rising yet?
It’s true that a moderate amount of stress is normal and can even be a good thing. Some individuals work better under pressure, and enjoy the extra boost of energy that nervous tension can provide. However, everyone’s tolerance for stress differs, and the pressure that can enhance one person’s performance can cause undue anxiety for another. Warning signs that students are experiencing overwhelming pressures may include:
- Muscle tension
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Feeling overwhelmed, out of control or overly anxious
- Unreasonable or unexplained anger
Learning to manage stress is a process that will help students cope with the rigors of not only academic life, but everyday challenges as well. It is important to learn to recognize the symptoms of being over-stressed, and develop techniques to manage pressure appropriately. Students who have practiced effective Thinking Organized strategies throughout the school year will find themselves better prepared and less likely to succumb to “cram-for-exams” panic. However, anyone can find himself behind schedule, and students can practice some basic stress management techniques to help get through this hectic time of year.
- Thinking Organized time management strategies will help students schedule and prioritize tasks to maximize efficiency.
- Remembering to take good care of themselves physically will help children perform their best. Exercise, sleep and nutritious meals keep body and mind healthy and productive.
- Thinking Organized memorizing and studying strategies will help students prepare for tests with confidence.
Students who learn to manage the stress of responsibilities work more efficiently. Using a realistic study schedule that includes breaks and balance will optimize academic performance, and reinforce good coping skills for years to come.