Do you feel tired and worked up during school days or exams? Do you find yourself to be tensed, irritable, anxious, or sick in the stomach sometimes during exams? Do you have a persistent headache all the time? Do you have trouble going to bed after a hectic day of academics, sports and extracurricular activities? And then find it a pain to wake up for school the next day? Ever wondered why it could be?
STRESS. Stress is the answer to all your above questions. Every day, we hear our parents or other adults in the family complaining that they are tired and stressed out and can't sleep properly. While stress is common among adults, it is frequently noticed among kids too.
What is stress? A medical dictionary would describe stress as 'physical, chemical or an emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation'. In simple terms, stress can be described as the wear and tear of the body. In today's rapid world, students also face enormous stress owing to the morning rushes, home-works and class-works, a fast paced life and a busier lifestyle. The work load at classroom coupled with the huge amounts of homework given to students and the peer pressure of excelling in sports and performing well in extra-curricular activities all lead to causing stress among school students. Peer pressure with regards to dress, style, behaviour, choice of friends, being part of the groups can also be very demanding on the young minds and a cause of stress. Very often, stress among students is characterized by crankiness, irritability, their inability to eat, sleep and concentrate.
Another major and common reason for stress among students is the anxiety during examinations. The pressure to perform well and stand first in the rat race is threatening too. It is very common for young students to have a general fear of testing. It is called 'Test Anxiety'. A researcher Hembree conducted several studies on Test Anxiety. Test anxiety has several kinds of negative outcomes like poor performance in exams, academic failure and underachievement and in turn insecurity. Many students might underperform in exams owing to test anxiety even though they have the cognitive ability to do well. According to a study by a research scholar Lazarus in the year 1966, events that are found challenging and threatening by an individual can also cause stress in that individual.
Having spoken about stress and the manifestation of stress in students, stress management is of utmost importance to students of all ages.
If there is something troubling you consistently, talking to an elder in the family or a teacher about it can greatly alleviate stress. The adult you discuss with may find a possible solution to your problem or can just make you feel comfortable.
- Balancing academic & extra-curricular activities
If you feel tired due to a lot of pressure at school and due to after school activities, it is better to drop some and find a little time for relaxation. After school activities like painting, sketching, music and dance, or sports like swimming, tennis, skating etc can help you relax. But remember that an excess of anything is too bad. If you are taking swimming lessons this summer, you can learn tennis next time. There is always time for everything.
- Exercise and a balanced diet
Exercise is important not only to stay fit, but also to combat stress and live healthy. Exercising releases hormones that make you happy. Exercising increases oxygen supply to the bed and make you feel fresh. Take a walk early in the morning to enjoy the peaceful nature. Eating too much of junk food like burgers and pizzas and also makes one feel sluggish and lazy thereby contributing to stress. Have a balanced meal and include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Make sure you finish your home works on time and go to bed early. Do not post pone your work until late in the night. A good night's sleep of 8 hours is very essential to feel fresh and going every morning. Watching too much TV and playing too much video games can also stress the eyes and will alter your sleep patterns.
- Proper time management and organizational techniques
Allocate time for all your day-to-day activities and stick to the schedule. Proper time management is very crucial. Setting up time tables for study time, play time and hobbies can save a lot of time. Organize your things well in a proper order so that you do not waste time searching them. Make sure your school books and accessories like tie, badges, flaps etc go to their respective places. Keep a calendar to remember deadlines for assignments, submissions etc and stick to it so that you not feel stressed out at the last moment.