13 Sep Strategies and a little expert advice
Dr. Toni Tarnell runs a workshop for students and teaches them how to enhance their organizational skills and basically get ready for the school year. She helps take a lot of the anxiety out of the process. Here are some of the things she shared with us:
“Focus on acclimating to the new classes, the teachers and the people the first week of school, then get to the nitty-gritty on the second and third week of school. There doesn’t need to be so much pressure right away.”
The point is to take it slowly and to create habits now that are less stressful. Here’s some more information from another expert we know well, Mary Gocke, nutritionist and yoga instructor.
“Many students cope with school related stress by reaching for caffeine, sugar, even nicotine—but these substances cause more stress on the body and the mind.
But simple more positive changes in food choices, along with a little exercise, enough sleep and five minutes each day for a relaxation technique (see last post) can improve mood, behavior, attention and memory. That will help most students to better manage stress.”
To sum up the expert advice on the academic stress:
- Become organized but don’t let the first week or so of school freak you out by focusing on too much at once.
- Manage your stress level by defining what success means to you, set those goals accordingly, and maybe talk to your parents about how to reach those goals.
- Increase your resilience so you have the ability to bounce back from stressful situations. Click here for more information on increasing your resilience.
- Eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest.
- And, perhaps most importantly, develop sound study habits (see previous post!).
Also, talk to your teachers! The ones with whom we spoke definitely emphasized that they are not out to get you! If homework is taking you hours longer than you think it should, they want to know about it, because it should not take too long. Ask what they expect of you, tell them your experience and work out a middle ground. Communicate!!
Here is some advice from your peers—also experts—on how to deal with the academic stress:
“Just relax and have fun.”
“You might as well take advantage of the time that you are there and not slack off because you have to be there anyway and you might as well learn something.”
“Remember, everyone there is having the same struggles as you and the day doesn’t last forever, eventually the day will come to an end.”
“Be prepared. Do anything you can over the summer to prepare yourself.”
“Try your best because that’s really all that you can do. And when you get a bad grade and you know you can do better, don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you’ll work harder. Actually do it.”
You can also learn more about stress itself and reduction techniques in our stress link.
There’s also a relaxation technique as the last sub-post in this section, but first let’s turn to that second area of stress for teens at the start of the school year…
What strategies do you use to help decrease academic stress?