School causes a lot of anxiety. There seem to be two areas where this is most true: socially and with grades. For some teenagers school is so overwhelming that they can hardly handle it. Towards the end of every vacation they start to feel intensely stressed and irritable. It becomes difficult for your teen to remember they are at school to learn; they begin to think school is a place where they will be socially and academically scrutinized. What follows are 10 tips that help reduce some of the nervous feelings.
1. Study regularly over the course of the whole week before an exam. Cramming causes more exhaustion and anxiety.
2. Do not lose perspective, pray instead. Just because someone says something rude about you does not make it true. It also does not mean everyone else will believe it is true. What God and your family think of you matter much, much more.
3. Remember to breathe. It is very helpful to take deep breaths when taking a test, or at any time when feeling anxiety.
4. Talk to someone. Letting a friend know when you don’t feel your best can sincerely give you relief.
5. Choose wisely. Your friends have a lot to do with how you feel. Unlike your family, you can choose your friends.
6. Get to know your teachers. If you take the time to talk to them a little bit you will feel better in their classes.
7. Watch the caffeine intake. Drinking soda or coffee contributes a lot to feelings of nervousness. It is better to get a little exercise. That wakes you up too.
8. Stretch. If you are standing in the halls between classes lean back and stretch a little. This usually feels good and is almost always calming.
9. Smile. If you struggle socially it is very likely you keep your head down and forget to smile. Just by walking around with a smile more people will talk with you.
10. Get enough sleep. If you are not sleeping enough then it is a big challenge to maintain your poise when you need it. You probably have to get up early for school so just go to bed sooner.
If you remember to employ these techniques you will feel a little better on your bad days.
Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT