Life for most teenagers is a horrible game of Red Robin, rejected by the opposing team, stung by mixed messages and conflicted with demands from parents, teachers, coaches, employers and friends. Even the seemingly simple act of growing up is a tough business, and it creates stress that can cause serious depression for young people. But despite warnings from our guts, our instinct and our doctors, we over-schedule ourselves to do too much. And we feel the repercussions.
But, contrary to popular teenage belief, this intense pressure has not been overlooked by adults. In fact, many parents and educators have been driven to take on what some see as a losing battle, and are attempting to remove some of the stress from high school life.
In a recent article published in the San Jose Mercury News, psychologist Suzanne Segerstrom of the University of Kentucky described how stress can be more dangerous than the average teen might realize.
“Rates of depression keep going up in successive generations” Segerstrom said. “However, stress is more than depression. It can mean feeling pressured or overwhelmed or unable to cope, not feeling joy or physical symptoms like fatigue and pain.”
To help fight, this overbearing stress monster, the school recently hosted a PTA meeting focused on stress relieving. In the school library, Jomary Hilliard, Ph.D., an adolescent psychologist along with four high-achieving students spoke to our schools’ parents about stress and how students deal with it. But when put in a similar situation, how would the average student respond? Students all deal with stress, whether they are over-scheduled or not, but only a few students have discovered how to deal its overbearing power. This is where the school steps in.
At the meeting, Satterwhite mentioned the other programs offered at the school to “bust stress,” including several lectures given by students in student government, and the freshman classes during tutorial.
On campus, a number of clubs provide a stress-free haven for students who feel overwhelmed, whether you’re simply making a cup of tea, writing a poem or talking about your stress.
Additionally, counselors provided by the school can act as stress relievers, to talk to or to assist students in the scheduling of their lives. However, by simply saying “no,” not taking as many demanding classes or signing up for less activities, students can develop new, healthy habits, shrinking their stress to a more controllable level, one that does not require the shoulder of a friend or counselor.
Exercise and taking caffeine out of one’s diet is a start. Learning how to say enough is enough and cutting down on your daily activities opens more time to get things done, or simply make time to relax. But above all, sleep is the best cure for stress. Despite the popular belief that acceptance to college is the end-all be-all, health should be the top priority. After all, how can one effectively study if one is perpetually sick, tired and unable to perform?