The students’ guide to tackling academic stress


two strategies in one: making a to do list while enjoying nature

Gabrielle Krieger

In my short high school career, I’ve endured more stress than I previously thought possible. Many of the stressors were out of my control, and yet there were also many that felt all too in my control. It’s difficult not to put too many things on your plate! Trust me, I would know. Life for me is constantly a struggle of maintaining numerous extracurriculars, obligations, and classes (which I constantly make more challenging than necessary). Luckily, I have picked up a few helpful tips along the way. While I’m still very much a work in progress when it comes to stress relief, who isn’t?

Make Priorities
If you know that you want to pursue a career in physics, don’t torture yourself with eight music classes! If you want to be a painter, you don’t need to be in college level math in freshman year. Yes, being a well-rounded individual is an important part of a successful life. That doesn’t mean you have to the best in everything. Take the time to get to know yourself. What makes you happy? Take the answer to that and run with it. While it’s important to maintain balance and not to let everything else in your life go, it’s also important that you don’t spread yourself too thin and become miserable.

Drop One Thing From Your Life
Related to prioritizing, get rid of one thing that’s stressing you out. If you’re taking too advanced of a class for you, go to the next one down! There’s no shame in that. Nowadays there is lots of stigma around “quitting,” but sometimes you have to let something go to make room for what makes you happy.

Put Simple Tasks on Your To-Do List That You Can Actually Finish
Don’t make your to-do list absolutely aspirational. That’s just setting yourself for failure. Instead, try adding things you know you will accomplish, whether that’s finishing your homework or flossing. Give yourself a boost and a pat on the back, you deserve it.

Spend More TIme in Nature
Sometimes there is only so much you can do trapped behind your desk. The best option is to go outside and get a fresh breath of air. If you have way too much homework to do, go for a walk, take your work outside and go on a picnic. Fresh air leads to a clean mind, which leads to more brain power for your homework! De-stressing not only helps your mental health state but also your level of work.

Reserve One Day to Yourself a Month
Your body and mind need time to reset itself in order to continue hard work. Reserve just one Saturday to relax. Chill and binge watch your favorite guilty pleasure the night before, sleep in that morning, take a hike the next day, and draw yourself a bubble bath (or take a warm shower if you’re a dormer). Go to sleep early that night and allow your mind to wander. Maybe read your favorite book before bed. Oscar Wilde and Kurt Vonnegut are my personal favorites on my relaxation days.

Let It All Out
Sometimes you need to vent. This could mean crying to your best friend over the phone or writing the most angsty poetry you can muster. Something that I recently stumbled onto for helping release pent up emotions is the rage industry. It’s a place where you go to literally pay to break things. That could mean plates or furniture. It’s not just for people with anger, it’s a therapeutic thing to do in general. You can find one in Seattle. Don’t try this at home!

I hope this has encouraged you to achieve your best self! For some relaxing and fun music, make sure to check out @anniewrightinkwell on Spotify.