Written by Kayla Garnett
It's so easy to get caught up in what I call the “college trap.” Part of 5 clubs, 2 sports, and 6 AP Classes with a fine sprinkling of leadership roles? Feel like you’re working harder than a single mom of 2 during Christmas Time but not really getting anywhere? You just may be stressed!
Its so easy to joke about feelings of intense stress and inadequacy in high school because it is just so common. It feels as if everyone –on our social media, in our classes– is grinding non stop to attain one goal: getting into a great university. Although this is not the only thing that causes stress in the lives of high school students, I’d like to argue it is a relatively major factor.
So, what is stress? Physiologists define it as “a condition that imposes severe demands on the physical and psychological defenses of the organism”(dictionary.apa.org). When many people think of stress, they often conjure a mental image of some gripping their hair with huge eyebags, looking like they are on the verge of tears. While this image is an accurate representation for some, it's not all that common for teens. In fact, we can often function without even realizing the more subtle signs of stress: thoughts racing in your head that you can’t seem to stop, feeling like you’ve lost your sense of humor, feeling neglected or worried– all these are subtle signs that your body is under a lot of stress.
Now, the implications of prolonged stress are not to be underestimated. Prolonged stress can lead to a weakened immune system, depression, heart disease, and so much more. Its extremely important that we reduce stressors in our lives in order to dissuade these adverse health effects.
April is National Stress Awareness Month, and its purpose for being instituted in 1992 was to spread awareness for people facing stress in the workplace, in educational environments, and even in their home/personal lives. Understanding stress and how to manage it is a vital skill, especially for teens moving into adulthood.
This National Stress Awareness Month, try taking a step back from all your clubs and activities and cutting down in areas that are not vital. IT is so easy to fill up a schedule with things simply because you can, but just being able to do something does not mean that you should. Make sure to leave time in your schedule for yourself and only you, whether it may be reading at the library, taking a walk in the park, or a much needed nap after school. You only get one body, and you gotta treat it right! For more information about how to handle stress, please check out the NIH website or any of the source links.