Tag Archives: classes

Six Tips to Relieve School Stress – Just Call Me Jess

6 steps to reduce stress 1

The new school year is right around the corner and almost everyone is excited! Yes summer break is coming to an end, but the year will be filled with new opportunities to learn and make new friends…for most. For some, the new school year can be stressful! There is school supplies, new environment, new teachers/professors, stress if there is difficulty learning or reading and the list goes on!

Luckily, I have been there done that, when it comes to the stress associated with school. My anxiety would increase as the time got closer and would skyrocket the day before, “is my outfit right”, “what if I didn’t prepare enough”, “what if no one talks to me and I don’t make any friends”, and etc. As I would sit to take a test, I would begin to panic and often have to go outside of the classroom to catch my breath. Eventually, I began taking my classes outside and away from other classmates.

Stress is your body’s response to a challenge or demand. When you do not address the stress, it can begin to affect many aspects of your life, body and mind. Stress can often cause bodily effects such as headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, over eating or loss of appetite, and body aches. It can emotional cause you to have anxiety, lose focus, lack motivation, be easily frustrated or irritated, or even become depressed. When you are stressed you are more likely to use substances to cope, have angry outbursts, isolate yourself and have a decrease in participation in activities you once found pleasurable.

Throughout my experiences with stress, I learned many tips and tricks to decrease stress and rationalize my thoughts.

  1. Identify Your Stressor. If you walk into school/class and you begin to tense or you begin to have negative emotions identify where that comes from. Stressors can be anything and frankly that’s what makes them hard to identify. This is why it is important to have an effective self care and mindfulness routine so that you can identify your body’s responses to outside stimuli. Your body and mind will tell you that “this is not a safe place” or a “this is not comforting”.  Is it the subject, teacher or assignment you forgot to do? Once you identify the stressor it is easier to…
  2. Eliminate the Stressor. School can be a stressor in and of itself. The pressure to do well and achieve adequate grades will stress you out! Now add, family pressures, obligations, work, friends, relationships, bills, assignments, deadlines, extracurriculars…have I caused your heart rate to increase yet? Unfortunately some stressors we cannot eliminate but for the things we can impact, find alternatives.
  3. Breathing Techniques. I know, how cliche’! But seriously, taking slow breaths in and out will allow oxygen to get to the brain, your heart rate to slow and relaxes your body. Breathing in for 10 seconds, holding, and releasing for 10 seconds will allow you to make better decisions and become in tune with your body and what it needs.
  4. Exercise.The benefits of exercise are endless! Exercising is a mindfulness technique used to reduce stress, develop a healthy lifestyle and allow excess energy to be released. A simple 30 minute workout could reduce your stress and allow you to think clearly about decisions and what you need to do to have a successful day (this is why it is normally recommended in the mornings).
  5. Take A Mental Health Day. The brain is the most important organ in the body and yet we care for it the least. Stress can lead to many physical symptoms but also mental symptoms. I often see patients that have developed Anxiety Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder due to stress. How? If you continuously stress about your grades in school to the extent that you sacrifice your sleep or rarely eat you will get physically sick. You will also (eventually) burn out, lash out, fall out due to stress, lack of sleep and poor diet. Now there are no social supports, because you have isolated or pushed them away due to your emotional response to stress and you are not succeeding in school because you have burned out and fell out due to exhaustion. What is not advertised in school is taking time to care for your mental health. You will not give your best self if you are not caring for yourself.
  6. Seek Help. Speak to your teachers, counselor, family and friends about what is going on and how they can support you. I often suggest  individuals disclose their stressors to their support system in hopes that they can help combat them. If the stressor is one you cannot avoid, develop a plan with your support system so that they know how to be there for you during that time. If you need to be told to rest, eat, sleep, bathe, meditate, journal, listen to music, etc. let them know that. They cannot help you unless you tell them.

Good luck on your new school year! I know it will be everything you wish for and then some. Remember to implement these tips and stay positive!

Snapchat-616310384

Hi I am Jessica, founder of Just Call Me Jess, a mental health blog that seeks to reduce stigma by normalizing the conversation surrounding it. I am a Licensed Master Level Social Worker with experience working with adults with severe, persistent mental illnesses and substance use.

Check out my blog for a FREE Weekly Self Care Calendar!

Follow me at www.twitter.com/just_jess_18 or www.pinterest.com/callmejess7

Mental Health Awareness – Indierella

Kat is the creator of Indierella: a blog about music and living life as creatively as possible. She is a wearer of large headphones, teller of stories, and a listener of good music that nobody knows. You can find her on her blog (www.indierella.com) as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

*Note from Koral: This blog is back from May and Mental Health Awareness month, and thought it would fit in perfectly with the guest posts on my site here as well as the timing!

mental-health-awareness-month-main

Mental Health Awareness Month means something different to me since I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

Last fall, several things happened. I wasn’t taking care of my body, I was taking a heavy workload of classes, I was back on campus after spending a year abroad, and I wasn’t being honest with myself or with the people around me. A stupid conflict led to a panic attack that lasted several days where I barely ate or left my room, and at my lowest point I called the National Suicide Hotline because I needed to talk to someone, anyone, because I felt so alone, isolated, and helpless. I was taken to the ER and given a diagnosis.

My mom drove down to my school and I got to stay with her for the weekend as I ended relationships with friends, forced myself to eat, and spent a lot of time in counseling. It wasn’t pretty or romantic or graceful, and I sure didn’t deal with it in the most martyred or selfless ways. In short: I screwed up with people. But I refuse to let go of the fact that I crawled my way out of a darkness and fought my way back.

And in the months that followed, I have been blessed by so much. I was able to learn coping techniques and how to take my medication when I have a panic attack, I became closer to God, I made new friends, I fell in love with a wonderful man who makes me feel loved and beautiful and special, I got a 3.82 GPA that semester, finished my senior thesis, started this blog, and realized I have to respect and take care of myself instead of hoping that someone else would.

For years I ignored my panic attacks and fears because they “weren’t that bad.” I put other people’s expectations before my own. I didn’t seek help because I didn’t want to put pressure or be a burden on anyone else. But, at the end of the day, I don’t really regret anything. I learned that I was harboring so much guilt about hurting people that I wasn’t letting myself heal. I learned all the ways that my physical health affects my mental health. I learned to love myself. And I’m still learning how to take care of myself whenever things aren’t perfect.

Writing this post wasn’t easy. Living day-to-day isn’t always easy when I let doubt and fear creep into my mind. But at the end of the day, I’m the first person that needs to fight for my well-being. I have to be my own champion.

So for Mental Health Awareness Month, remind yourself to be your own hero. Fight for your happiness, fight your demons and fight to recognize your own mental health. I’ll be fighting with you.

But before you go, here is one last thing I have to share with you. I made this playlist when I was suffering and lonely, when walking across campus or eating in the cafeteria was hardest. At first I only had about five songs on it. Five songs that could calm me down in my state of panic. Five songs that I could listen to and not feel like I was spiraling out of control. Then, as things got better, I added more songs, and each one has a special meaning to me. Together, this playlist doesn’t remind me of the hard times, but it reminds me that things got better and they will keep getting better.

Big thank you to Kat for letting me share this post of hers on my site. We kind of did a playlist swap and I gave her my Sunday Morning Classic Rock playlist to share on here with a bit of my back story. Check out her blog and see when it’s posted!

NAME