Managing Stress

Stress is a word we use to describe the feeling of having more demands than we have resources to cope. It is when we feel the pressure is too much for us to manage. Studying can cause of stress at times. There may be other things in your life as well which are adding to the pressure. Everyone feels stressed from time to time, however what causes one person to feel stressed might have no effect on someone else. Your view of the situation can mediate how stressed you feel.

Get some emotional support

It is amazing how much better we can feel after talking to someone about our problems. If you are stressed about an academic problem try talking to your form tutor, subject teachers, pastoral support assistant or learning leader. For other stressful problems talk to a friend or family member. If you are not comfortable talking to anyone you know you could always ask your learning leader to help you to talk to a school based counsellor in school

Do something enjoyable

The more pressure we feel the less time we allow to do things we enjoy. We feel as though we can only do the things which need doing and feel guilty if we do anything else. Although it feels like this is the best thing to do, it means that we have no opportunities to reduce our stress levels. Doing activities we enjoy is important for our overall wellbeing and puts us in a better mental state to cope with the things we find stressful. The things we enjoy could be anything, from socialising with friends, listening to music to doing a hobby. Whatever it is, make some time in your schedule, even if it’s just an hour each day.

Do something physically active

Physical activity can really help when you are feeling stressed. Whether it’s some form of sport or hobby, being physically active can stimulate the flow of blood to the brain, give you more energy, improve tiredness and sleep and make you feel happier and more able to deal with problems in your life. It’s great for appearance and self-esteem too!

Organise yourself and manage your time

Writing lists can be really helpful, they can allow you to see exactly what needs doing. It’s unlikely you are going to be able to do everything on your list so try and priorities tasks each day, then make a new list with the things that didn't get done. Some people find that making a weekly or daily schedule can be really helpful.

Don’t drink or do drugs to cope

Using drink or drugs to cope with stress only provides a temporary relief. It does not deal with the problem causing the stress. You will also have clarity to your thinking and be less able to deal with or solve problems!  If you do fall into this trap please seek help from your GP and notify school immediately for us to try and help you by making an appointment with our school nurse initially.

Don’t take it out on other people

When we feel stressed sometimes we try to keep our feelings ‘bottled’ up inside. This often means we end up taking our emotions out on other people. We might ignore or shout at other people and get more irritated over little things. This creates a ‘knock on effect’; they may become upset with us which then feeds back into how stressed we feel.

Time to relax

A young person’s lifestyle can mean that there is little time to relax; you have work to do; deadlines to meet; friends to go out and see; TV to watch; X-box to play!   Being constantly ’on the go’ can make it impossible to manage stress. Make sure you have time to do something relaxing; forget about everything else and ‘enjoy the moment’, e.g. having a hot bath or playing an instrument.

Try to solve problems not avoid them

Problems in our lives often make us feel stressed. They can feel overwhelming, like there is no solution. However avoiding them, or ‘putting things off’ will only make it worse and prolong the stress. Spend some time writing each problem down, be as specific as possible about each one. Then one by one, write all the possible solutions for each problem, even those that seem really farfetched and ridiculous. Then write down the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. Based on your evaluation, select the best solution. Then make a plan of how you are going to carry this out stating ‘what, when, where, and with who’, then do it! Now go back and re-evaluate the problem. If the solution has not worked then go back, select another solution and plan that. Again re-evaluate the problem.