The School Newspaper of Oakville High School

Just Breathe

March 1, 2014

Stress can be completely real and crippling for a lot of people, and can impact their lives and the lives of those close to them. Sometimes there are simple things that you can do to reduce your stress and balance your life before you end up on Dr. Phil.

The main thing you have to understand about stress is that it’s different for everyone. Anxiety, ADHD, daydreaming tendencies, or failure to communicate–it’s different for everyone. To find a way to manage your stress, you need to identify what’s stressing you out. For a lot of students, the answer to this question is school.

Balancing your school work whilst trying to have a social life is ridiculously challenging. Planning out your homework, actually using the planner that you made your parents buy, can help diminish your stress in leaps and bounds. Planners are the first thing that teachers tell you to get when you say you’re stressed out or falling behind. Just writing out your work and estimating how much time it your homework will take can help you stay on track and get your work done before it starts to stress you out.

Test taking is another point that I hear people say stresses them out. Teachers tell you to just relax and try not to freak out, but how’s that going to help when you’re already hyperventilating?! Spazzing out in the middle of the class definitely won’t help anyone so take a deep breath and get a watch. Seriously, wearing a watch and timing out your test can help lower your stress levels. For anyone who plays music, the slight ticking of a wristwatch can sound like a metronome and help you keep pace. If you don’t want to wear a watch, pick a song that you like, maybe one that calms you down, and sing it in your head. Not out loud! No need to bug anyone around you, but having a comforting tune in your head can help you chill out and focus.

When you have something like Anxiety or ADHD, singing a tune or wearing a watch can cause even more problems. One habit I have developed to combat my ADHD is chewing gum. I always have at least one pack of gum with me! Chewing gum give me a chance to calm that fidgety characteristic that many ADHD kids have, and it doesn’t bother anyone. I recently read online (and tried it myself) that if you chew a specific flavor of gum while studying and chew that same flavor while taking the test, your recall will increase. It’s crazy, but hey, if it works to lower your stress!

The key to stress is identifying it, knowing when and why you become stress can help you find a way to calm down. Stress is extremely personal and the only one who can help you manage it is you. Take a moment to see what might help you relax in class, and help yourself become a better, calmer student.

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