A Parent Teacher & Student Guide To Symptoms & Solutions
A certain level of stress is normal. And positive stress responses from events such as changing schools and meeting new friends can actually help students learn and grow. But when exposed to repeated stressful events without the tools to manage feelings, stress can become emotionally and physically toxic. This guide explains the symptoms of stress in students from elementary school through college and provides strategies teachers and parents can use to help.
Support Them To Stay Active
Staying active is good for our mental health and for our brains. If a young person is feeling overwhelmed, the last thing they may feel like doing is staying active but studies have suggested that any activity, from walking around the block to yoga or cycling, could contribute to improving the symptoms of depression and anxiety and help young people feel less stressed. If youre staying active together, try to make it fun and something they enjoy.
Yoga Exercise And Additional Physical Health Strategies
Yoga Journal provides an extensive list of articles that can help college students use the practice of yoga to reduce stress and increase mindfulness. An article from Harvard Health Publishing dives deep into how various types of exercises, from participating in sports teams to vigorous workouts, help to bring enhanced peace of mind to a person. The article encourages college students to embrace exercise, in whatever form they choose, as a means of reducing stress.
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How School Stress Affects The Neuroendometabolic Stress Response
The bodies of high school students and younger kids are still developing and are accompanied by hormonal changes. When students are exposed to school stress, their growing bodies are not able to bear too much stress. They respond by activating the NeuroEndoMetabolic stress response. The NEM system is the bodys method of dealing with stress. There are six circuits of organs and systems involved in the NEM stress response that work in collaboration against stress. These circuits include Hormone, Bioenergetics, Detoxification, Inflammation, Cardionomic, and Neuroaffect Circuits. The adrenal glands are the first responders to stress and bear the utmost burden, although all six circuits are involved in the stress response.
Building Stress Management Skills
Kids and teens have been exposed to a far different environment of study and socialization, with many losing interest in academics and reporting a waning in attention span and ability to concentrate for long periods of time, says , PhD, clinical psychologist, anxiety expert, and founder of QuietMindCBT.
More specifically, many students spent the last year studying and working for shorter durations and in different environments. Turovsky points out that students may also have lost socialization skills due to a lack of access to other kids, especially in groups.
Students, teachers, and even parents have described having a social battery that is more easily depleted, meaning they get overstimulated and tired from socializing with both individuals and in groups, and need to return home to rest and recharge, she says. This can lead to high levels of stress for all ages.
However, planning for these changes can prepare everyone for a smoother transition when school starts. Developing stress-management skills can ensure that students, parents, and teachers have the tools they need for a successful and productive 20212022 school year.
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Manage Your Time In A Way That Works For You
Everyones relationship to time is different based on your immediate support needs and goals. Time management options can include:
- Installing apps like the Pomodoro technique, to help you break up tasks into 25-minute increments. You can try it here.
- Hiring a time management coach if you have the resources to do so.
- Getting targeted mental health support from a school counselor, therapist, or life coach to help unpack the emotions around studying and completing tasks.
If you manage a condition such as ADHD, you might consider these productivity study tips that could apply to all students or professionals:
- Time boxing devotes a set amount of time to each endeavor. Time boxing may help you chip away at a task over time, with small steps that provide value along the way, before moving on to the next time-boxed task.
- Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like blocking out time on your calendar to work on elements of a larger project.
- Task batching and day theming are so named as they help support productivity by creating an assembly line so-to-speak of predictable segments for your similar efforts.
Do Some Detective Work
Many teens with learning struggles dont even realize theyre feeling stress. Start a conversation, but keep your questions low-key. Taking a walk or going for a drive together is a good way to get conversation flowing. Mention youve noticed something has been bothering your child. Help to put a name on what it might be. Is all this talk about the SATs making you feel uneasy? Simply taking the time to talk about feelings can be a huge relief for your teen.
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Dangers Of Drugs Alcohol And Other Harmful Coping Mechanisms
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a national helpline that is also available to teens. Their number is 1-800-662-HELP . The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has a parents helpline that provides helpful informational services and guidance to parents concerned with their teens potential or current drug use. Their number is 1-855-378-4373. They can also be reached via text at 55753.The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens also provides helpful blog posts, videos and infographics that can benefit teenagers who may be facing stress as a result of substance abuse.
Exercise Yoga And Physical Activities
Similar to K-8 students, high school students can enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of exercise and physical activities. For high schoolers, that could be establishing a regular exercise routine, such as daily jogs or walks, working out in a gym or joining a team sport. Yoga, too, can be beneficial to high schoolers in reducing stress. The Mayo Clinic recommends finding a qualified instructor and choosing a class at an appropriate experience level.
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How To Manage Stress In Elementary School Students
Younger elementary school students are mostly getting used to the routine of the school day. But in later elementary grades, the responsibilities required of schoolwork and thoughts of disappointing parents or teachers can be stressful. Teaching students at this age how to manage stress in school can help them adjust to online, virtual, or traditional schooling without getting overwhelmed.
Listen to calming music when its time to focus.
Music can help young learners get used to moving from one task to another. Music can also help students study. Try getting ready for the school day with upbeat music and switching to instrumental or downtempo music when working on individual assignments that require focus.
Plan breaks to do things that arent school-related.
Its unrealistic to expect a first- or second-grader to sit still through a full day of live virtual lessons. Thats why its important to schedule snack breaks, playtime, game time, or other activities that are not learning-focused throughout the day. Stress-management games for students can be as simple as taking a break to play a card or board game before beginning the next lesson. Set time limits for breaks so that students know when its time to move on to the next task.
Relax and learn mindfulness through sensory experiences.
Avoid Subjecting Yourself To Unnecessary Pressure
It is common to find a students schedule filled with classes, part-time jobs, and extra-curricular activities. While in college, if you realize that you have signed up for many classes, you should not hesitate to drop one or two. As mentioned above, it would also be best if you always remembered that you can always respond with a no when requested to join groups that were not in your plans. The bottom line is that you should avoid burdening and pressurizing yourself with too many unnecessary activities. Check this out in case you want to learn how to structure your paper in APA format.
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Test Anxiety & How To Treat It
Most people get nervous before taking a test. In fact, feeling nervous motivates us to study so we can pass! But for some students, it goes beyond feeling nervous to the point that it causes them to freeze up and be unable to perform well. In this section, we discuss the definition and symptoms of test anxiety and how students can prevent it from getting out of control.
Identify A Stress Outlet
Stress can never be completely avoided however, finding a healthy way to reduce stress can go a long way toward keeping it from overwhelming you. Common stress outlets include exercise, spending time with friends and family, and getting massages.
You can also try relaxation techniques such as deep abdominal breathing, concentrating on a soothing word , doing yoga or tai chi, and visualizing tranquil scenes.
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A Primer On Academic Stress
The bright side of school-related stress is theres a graduation date somewhere down the line. School doesnt last forever!
As you look at the road ahead in terms of accomplishments like grades, certificates, semesters, or degrees, it may help to also unpack the types of stress involved.
Academic stress can be parsed into three categories:
- performance assessment
- intensity of workload
- social relationships with teachers, peers, and friends
Students also face the stressors of everyday life related to finances, health, and social life, including:
- food and housing insecurity, which a 2017 study showed many students face
- being a first-generation college student
- experiencing a mental health condition such as depression or schizophrenia
- being a parent in school
- being a student-athlete
Symptoms Of Stress In School Students
The first thing to know about how to manage stress in school is how to identify the signs and symptoms of stress. Stress manifests differently from person to person. According to KidsHealth®, these are a few of the more common symptoms of stress in children:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- A sudden change in academic performance
Learning how to manage stress in school helps students become resilient adults. Here are our favorite tips for how to get less stressed in school. Although meant to reduce stress for students in elementary, middle, and high school, these techniques can help students, and even adults, of all ages.
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Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress
Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Its good to be informed but hearing about the traumatic event constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
- Continue with routine preventive measures as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible get a booster shot if you are age 18 or older.
Hotlines Online Communities And Additional Resources
Oregon YouthLine is a teen-to-teen hotline that can be beneficial to those facing school stress and related pressures. To get help, teens just need to call 877.968.8491, text teen2teen to 839863, email or chat online at the organizations website. PBS also provides a directory of different hotlines and mental health organizations for teens. These include:
- National Safe Place, an organization that helps teens in crisis: 1-888-290-7233
- The Trevor Project, a hotline that helps LGBTQ+ youth: 866-4-U-TREVOR
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
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How To Manage Stress In High School Students
High school students enjoy an increased level of independence, but they are also preparing for graduation, and beyond that, college, service, or the workforce. Add the social life and peer pressure that accompany the teenage years, and you have the main causes of stress in high school. In addition to continuing the stress management techniques above, especially getting enough exercise and sleep, building resilience is a big part of how to manage stress in high school students.
Break large assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks.
One of the most important skills a high school student can learn that will help to reduce stress is time management. Students should create a schedule that prioritizes their assignments, live virtual classes, extracurriculars, and other tasks to ensure they can get everything done in a timely manner. Daily planning can become part of a morning routine, or those who like to get a head start might schedule time at the beginning of each week. Having a plan can keep students from finding themselves overwhelmed by multitasking. For larger projects, setting mini goals for completing parts of the overall assignment can help reduce stress and guard against procrastination. Want to give it a try? Check out these five sample online school schedules.
Use checklists and celebrate the days accomplishments.
Be a part of the community.
Reach Out To An Advisor
If the stress is just too much, your school should have someone on hand who specializes in helping students be successful. Carrington College offers students and their family members access to a Student Assistance Program called ASPIRE. Its a confidential service to help students with personal or school-related problems. No matter what, if things get to be too much you should reach out for help.
Juggling school and work is bound to be challenging, but with the right tools, you can set yourself up for success!
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What Are The Symptoms Of Stress In College Students
When people are exposed to stressors or stimuli that provoke stress, they experience an array of physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive reactions. As such, two students might experience stress in very different ways.
Below are some of the various ways stress can manifest in people.
- Physical Symptoms: Sweating, increased heart rate or blood pressure, vertigo, shortness of breath, muscle tension, headaches, stomachaches, fatigue
- Emotional Symptoms: Hostility, irritability, and other mood changes increased worrying feelings of helplessness loneliness
- Behavioral Symptoms: Binge or reduced eating, drug or alcohol misuse, decreased sex drive, erratic sleep habits
- Cognitive Symptoms: Memory loss, loss of concentration, negative outlook, dissociation
Learn About And Support Them To Prioritise Sleep
A good night’s sleep is vital for mental and emotional wellbeing. Sleep disruptions can increase unhelpful thinking and heighten our stress levels. Try to encourage your young person to maintain a regular sleep- wake schedule. Encourage them to use the bedroom for its core purposes and avoid using distracting and stimulating devices such as a television or other electronic devices when they are in bed.
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How Stress Impacts Students
Theres no getting around the fact that school can sometimes be stressfulbut stress isnt always a bad thing.
In fact, a bit of stress can actually be good, encouraging students to work harder and learn to perform better under high-pressure situations, like during tests and exams.
But too much stress starts to hurt a students ability to perform.
High levels of stress impact a students ability to concentrate, memorize and achieve good grades. Too much stress can lead to both mental and physical health problems for students, and create a cycle of poor grades, low confidence and even more stress.
Support And Study Groups
Study groups can be an effective means of reducing stress in teenagers, considering how academic pressures are one of the primary stressors of this population. These groups can help teens discover new solutions to academic problems and overcome difficulties they may be facing in school.Support groups can also be beneficial to teens in dealing with stress and anxiety. Psychology Today provides a comprehensive directory of available support groups for teens, depending on where they are located. For example, in Los Angeles, 14-to-19-year-olds can participate in any of a large number of helpful support groups. Teen Line also offers a directory of support groups for teens facing various issues.
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How To Get Cbd Approved At School
If stress is having a detrimental impact on a childs health and wellbeing, and parents have tried CBD at home with success, they may want to get the remedy approved at their childs school.
The first step to achieving this is simple: Go to the nurse and ask if they have any experience using CBD for stress in children. If they dont have any knowledge of it, or if they scoff at you, give them some research. A little education might be all it takes.
However, if the nurse is open to it, parents will still need to convince the principal that CBD is important for their childs mental health. If the principal is leery, ask them if a doctors note would change their mind. If the nurse is given a doctors note, the CBD should theoretically be treated just like any other medication.
Ultimately, if the principal refuses, theres nothing parents can do. They might have to work their childs CBD schedule around school, perhaps giving it to them before and after school instead of during.