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Strategies for handling back-to-school stress

Post Date:09/18/2019

With the start of a new academic year come increased appointments, chaotic schedules and new environments.

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Millions of high schoolers and college students are already back in classrooms. With the start of a new academic year come increased appointments, chaotic schedules and new environments.

Helpful strategies minimize stress and frustration build-up. Real Simple’s tips include:

‒ Get enough sleep. High schoolers need a solid eight to 10 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
‒ Plan ahead. A whiteboard in a prominent place, featuring a week’s worth of appointments, practices, classes, tutoring, etc., is a visual reminder.

A study of 197 college freshmen published in 2017 by the National Institutes of Health determined that ”... increased stress level was significantly associated with lower sleep quality and greater negative emotions (fear, anger). Exercise was an effective stress coping strategy while other coping methods (Internet usage, meditation and self-isolation) were associated with higher stress.”

And, Anxiety and Depression Association of America maintains: “When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.“
Bottom line: Exercise is imperative.

Bernadette Melnyk, chief wellness officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, lists “healthy habits” at the top of her recommended checklist to ease students’ trepidation: “Just like you schedule your classes, also schedule time for exercise, healthy eating and stress relief.”

Melnyk also suggests students find an organizational system that works. One consideration is a planner app. And, make mental health a priority. Any student overly stressed or depressed should ask for counseling options.


By Deena Bouknight More Content Now

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