Going back to school can add stress to the lives of many high school students. But, there are ways to help your student relax and find happiness through self-care.
Balancing grades, extracurricular activities, social pressures and college applications can give students plenty to stress about. And, if left unmanaged, that stress can be harmful to their health and wellbeing. Stress can be relieved by doing what makes an individual happy or by trying one of these five proven relaxation techniques.
Deep breathing calms the body and can greatly reduce students’ overall stress levels, especially before tests or while working on challenging homework.
- Find a comfortable, quiet place. Breathe in and out slowly while counting to ten.
- Place a hand on the stomach and make sure the abdomen is moving up and down. This means you are using your diaphragm to inhale and exhale air.
- Breathing with your chest instead of your diaphragm can cause muscle tension and actually increase stress.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
This relaxation technique is used to relieve muscle tension, pain and stress. The idea behind the technique is that physical relaxation helps with mental relaxation
- Lie down in a quiet, calm environment with few distractions.
- Starting with the toes and feet, tighten the muscles in that area and hold for five seconds. Then, release the tension. Do this with every muscle, moving up the body and ending with the face.
Exercise should be a major part of any stress management plan.
- Get moving to engage the endorphins in the brain. These are the body’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
- When your student gets stressed, encourage them to go for a 10-minute walk or run to help them feel more focused.
Yoga combines the benefits of deep breathing and exercise to relieve stress.
- In addition to relieving stress and calming the mind, yoga slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, improves posture and builds core strength.
- There are plenty of yoga classes for your student to join, or find a free app or a YouTube video for beginners to get them started.
This is one of our basic needs but is often the first to go when a student has other obligations like homework or activities.
- A lack of sleep affects brain function and increases the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, poor mental health and obesity.
- Teens aged 13-18 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. According to a 2015 CDC survey, 72% of high schoolers reported getting less than that on school nights.1
- Make sure your student isn’t overloaded with responsibilities so they can use their evenings for rest.