Tips to Cope with Stress & Anxiety

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Ellie Hamashima, Staff Writer

As we enter September, most schools are in session, either virtually or in-person. The uncertainty in the air is palpable, with everyone asking the same question; “How compatible is education and a pandemic?” Wake County has announced that students will not be returning to in-person schooling until at least October 22nd, due to the fact that Coronavirus is still prosperous. Stress is a parasite that feeds on isolation, and since the shutdown in March, stress has thrived in teenagers across the nation. Data from a KFF Tracking Poll conducted this past summer found that if schools don’t reopen, 67% of parents with teenage children are worried their children will fall behind emotionally. Now, with assignments and assessments, teenage mental health is deteriorating. 

So, how will students balance school and a pandemic, while simultaneously prioritizing their mental health? Beginning to win the fight against stress starts with realizing mental health is just as important as physical health. We have compiled a list of strategies to cope with anxiety and stress during these unprecedented times. 

 

Spending Time in Nature:

Research suggests a decline in anxiety levels of participants after exposure to nature, so creating time during the week to spend time outside is crucial. Fred G. Bond Metro Park and Raven Rock State Park are beautiful locations with hiking trails and scenery! 

 

Journaling:
Investing in a journal, as corny as it sounds, can truly help anxiety and stress. It can be used for writing down your thoughts, about what is making you anxious and can help you manage them, or jot down what your grateful for! 

 

Eating Healthy:

Healthy eating habits, as surprising as it sounds, can have a large effect on mental health. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. But, this does not mean restricting yourself! Incorporating healthy foods into daily meals can improve mental and physical health.

 

Meditation:

Long term strategies such as daily meditation have been proven to be beneficial for reducing stress. If you have trouble sleeping, you should know that meditation can reduce the wake time of people with insomnia by 50%. Calm and Headspace are easily accessible meditation apps available on most mobile devices!

 

Exercise:

Although exercise won’t make your problems disappear, it can make it easier to approach them with a clear head. Davis Cuffe, a Junior at GHHS, finds that going on runs helps him manage his stress. Other forms of cardio like dancing, walking, or swimming are all great ways to exercise!

 

Accept Things You Cannot Change:

Often, the things we spend the most time stressing out about are things we cannot change. For example, if you spend hours stressing because you have a test tomorrow, that time is wasted. Instead accept it, and face it head on! Although it is easier said than done, realizing you cannot change what you are worried about is helpful towards managing it. 

 

Sleep:

Sleep is crucial towards maintaining a positive atmosphere and attitude. If you are like me and have trouble sleeping, reading before bed and listening to white noise can have a drastic effect on sleep patterns. 

 

In conclusion, we hope that these tips will lead GHHS students to have increasingly better mental health! If you have been struggling with stress these past few weeks, give these tips a try! Mental Health is a serious and important matter, we hope to spread awareness about the importance of mental health, especially in high school students.