The most difficult part of high school is finding a healthy balance between a part-time job, sports, and extracurricular activities — all on top of doing well in school and studying. Finding a school-life balance will help to reduce stress and optimize your functioning. You wear many different hats as a student (worker, friend, classmates, etc), but you must learn to assess priorities. Here are three Life Strategies that can help you achieve your optimal school-life balance and decrease stress:
Life Strategy #1: Establish Priorities
Decide what is most important and what needs to be completed first. Remember that you do not have to complete everything on your to-do list overnight. Avoid the need to rush as the last-minute by not procrastinating and planning your work and schedule one week ahead. Write out what needs to be done first and early in the week, and what can be completed later on. If you are focusing on key assignments or activities each night you will no longer have to worry about all of them every evening. As a result, you will be able to better concentrate and do a better job on each project.
Learn to manage your time optimally. Time management is a key component to academic and professional success. Try using the example template titled “Make a Daily Schedule” to help you sort through your priorities. An easy way to prioritize is to think about what’s urgent. If you have to write a history report but also need to practice an instrument for a concert, ask yourself which deadline is coming up first. If the report is due this week but the concert is next week, then you have a simple answer.
In addition, think about consequences of NOT spending time on your top priorities. When you cannot decide whether an assignment is worth your time, ask yourself, “What would happen if I didn’t do it?” Here’s an example: Should you finish completing your math homework, or go out and watch a movie with friends.
The consequence of not doing your math work results in a failing grade on the project, your parents will upset, and you will have to work harder to bring up your grade. The consequences of not watching the movie are that you will miss out going on theater, but you can always see the film on the weekend or on a night when you have less work. This comparison and thought process make it pretty clear which one of these two things should be prioritized.
Beware of the top time wasters! Activities such as watching TV and playing video games are known to suck out your time, so learn self-control to keep them to a minimum.
Life Strategy #2: Set Realistic Goals
Some people work extremely hard, yet they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile or get anything done. The reason this happens is that these people did not spend enough time thinking about concrete goals. you cannot set out on a journey without a formal destination in mind. Goal setting is a powerful procedure for thinking about your future and for motivating yourself to accomplish your vision.
Strive to be a high achiever, not a perfectionist. Perfectionists can suffer from self-defeating thoughts and behaviors aimed at reaching unrealistically lofty goals. Studies have shown that perfectionist attitudes actually interfere with success by contributing to low self-esteem, anxiety, guilt and lack of motivation. There is nothing wrong with striving to do the best you can. The key difference is that you must know your limitations. Become a high achiever without being a perfectionist, and here are a few tips:
1.Set goals that are realistic and achievable–and be specific!
2.Enjoy the process of working towards goals, not just the outcome.
3.Discuss your positive and negative thoughts.
4.View mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth.
5.Be willing to take feedback and improve yourself.
Begin by writing down your goals. Studies have shown that you are far more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. writing down goals also makes them real to us. Next, set short-term milestones. Goals that are far out of reach are easy to procrastinate on and delay. As always, be specific on what your short-term goals are. The more specific you are, the more motivated you will be as you get closer to achieving your goal. Measure your actions as well as progress. For example, if you want to complete a science project by a certain deadline, monitor your actions for getting that project done–have you rad your science notes, done your research, and performed the experiments? Finally, start with just one goal in the beginning. A classic mistake is that people can be overzealous and try to set too many goals at once. Therefore, set one main goal at a time and then slowly add more goals as you get the first one under control.
Life Strategy #3: Take Good Care of Yourself
The biggest influence on you as a high school student is to learn the lesson of responsibility and balance. Be honest with your feelings. If you feel overwhelmed by your workload, see if there are few things you can accomplish now and a few later. This will help decrease stress at the moment, and allow you to overcome frustration and anxiety.
An important lesson in life is to always approach a task with an open mind. You can only do so with a healthy body and clear thinking. Exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way to help relieve stress in your life. Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel nervous or upset your balance in some way. It can be both good and bad. On the positive side, stress can help you rise to meet challenges and starts causing major damage to your health, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.
Here are Some Signs of Stress Overload
Emotional symptoms: Moodiness, irritability, short temper, and feeling overwhelmed. You may also get a sense of loneliness and isolation, depression or general unhappiness.
Cognitive symptoms: Memory problems, poor concentration, poor judgment, anxious thoughts, and constant worrying.
Physical symptoms: Aches and pains, nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and frequent colds.
Behavioral symptoms: Eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, isolating yourself from others, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, and developing nervous habits.
Rest assured – there are many ways to help relieve stress. Unchecked stress is damaging, and you actually have more control over your stress levels than you might think. You can learn to cope with the stress in a healthy way, but remember that everyone has a unique response to stress. There is no single method to relieve stress, but here are few helpful ideas:
Physical Activity can greatly help manage stress. Exercising mindfully helps to get your circulation going and help your concentration.
Engage Socially with friends and family. Talk to a trusted person face to face. The simple act of looking at a familiar face can help reduce stress.
Set Aside Time for Yourself. Try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Eat a Healthy Diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, and eat light snacks to keep your energy levels up..
Get Plenty of Sleep. Feeling tired can add stress to your life, causing you to think irrationally and act irritable. Keep cool by getting a good night’s rest.
As high school students, you may be under a lot of pressure from home responsibilities, school, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, it is important to reach out and ask for help. you don’t have to be perfect to be organized for your achievements, so learn to set priorities to accomplish your most important goals. Try implementing these three Life Strategies into your life to help reduce stress and work to maintain school-life balance.
The post is originally written by Queen Elizabeth Academy – Tutoring Mississauga.