Saturday, August 6, 2016

How to Not Explode: 10 Ways to Deal with Stress

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By: Meghan K.

The new school year is coming up, and with the new school year comes the inevitable stress involved with school. The big test coming up, that teacher who seems to have it in for you, friends not getting along, daily drama rehearsals… is that last one just me? Okay. Anyways, I’ve been where you stand before, and it’ll be okay, I promise. I got you.
Stress is not fun. Constantly worrying about things is really, really exhausting, and eventually, you’re going to feel like you’re about to explode. But how do you not worry about things? How do you not explode?
I have a solution for you. In fact, I have 10.




1. Take some time to just chill. Even if it’s just five minutes doing absolutely nothing, take a little bit of time to relax, clear your head, and refocus. Go for a walk; read a book; take a bubble bath; listen to some music; read the Lime Green Giraffe. Find something to do (or do nothing, that also works) that is just for you and allows you to just be calm and chill.

2. Take action! Have an essay due in a week? Spend some time every day working on it, polishing it to perfection. Making a presentation in three days? Go over everything you need to say until you’re confident you’ve got it. Worried you’ll freeze up during your audition for that lead role? Make a plan to practice it a few times after school. Whatever it is, make a plan to help yourself feel confident that you’ve done all you can. Knowing that you’ve put your all into something tends to make it less stressful.

3. Get some sleep. I know it might seem hard; sleeping when you’re super stressed is no picnic at times. And I know you feel like staying up till three in the morning will help you get things done. But it won’t. Getting a good night’s sleep helps you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day tomorrow. And stressing out, like I said, is both physically and mentally exhausting.

4. Do something active! Shoot some hoops with your friends. Walk the dog. Swim some laps in the pool. Sometimes, just burning off some excess steam and getting active can feel really good, and coming back at a problem with a fresh mind can help you solve it.

5. Let yourself feel what you feel. I am hugely guilty of shoving my emotions under the rug when I’m stressed until they become too big to fit (it’s a pretty big rug, but even big rugs have limits), and I can safely say from experience that stashing your feelings under small carpets does not help in the slightest! It can actually make you even more stressed. So let them out. Write in a journal, talk it out, cry, whatever. Just don’t ignore whatever it is you’re feeling. There is no shame in emotion.

6. Laugh! You know that saying “Laughter is the best medicine?” Well, it’s true! If you’re feeling stressed, find something that makes you laugh. It could be a funny TV show, all those funny photos on social media, or just listening to one of your friends tell a funny story. Get that giggle going!

7. Find something to take your mind off the stress. Sometimes, the thing that’s stressing you out is something you can’t control. In that case, stressing out over it isn’t going to do much good. So go do something that distracts you. It can be anything, from writing music to riding horses to playing a board game, as long as it keeps your mind off what’s stressing you.

8. Write everything down. Sometimes, seeing your problem from an objective viewpoint (or just seeing it written on paper instead of a jumble in your head) can help you think of a solution. Sometimes things just make more sense when you write them down. Whatever it is, try writing down what’s bugging you and how you feel and then reading over it. You don’t even have to write it as a non-fiction piece; put some characters in the situation you’re in and look at it from the perspective of a reader.

9. Talk to your friends. Sometimes, just talking out what’s bothering you can make you feel a lot better, and having an extra set of eyes to look at the issue can be really helpful. Or maybe you just need a good, long hug, because sometimes that’s all it takes. So talk to someone you trust. You may find that they’ve been in a similar situation and have a helpful solution, or maybe they can just let you know you’re not going crazy.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You don’t need to do everything alone; in fact, that can actually make you feel worse. And if you’re stressed beyond belief and don’t know how to deal with it, you definitely need to ask for help and take some of the weight off your shoulders. So find someone who can help you and you can collaborate on a solution.

I hope these suggestions help you out a little bit, and you feel less stressed. Or if you’re reading this in preparation for being stressed, I hope you feel a little bit more confident in your ability to deal with chaos.
You got this.

I believe in you.

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