How to Deal with Stress at School
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Whether it be stress caused by relationships, work, or family, all people feel stressed at some point. However, children and young adults are often excluded from the conversation when talking about stress. But these groups experience stress as well, usually caused by school.
And while parents can’t eliminate their kid’s stress completely, they can play a significant role in helping. Many children wonder how to deal with stress at school, and there are several tips that parents can provide to help their kids manage the tension.
What is stress?
Most people consider stress to be a negative thing. However, in some instances, it’s a positive response. For example, exercise causes stress to the body. Additionally, the hormones produced when people are stressed helps them escape dangerous situations.
But problems begin to arise when someone is stressed out constantly, experiencing all the signs of stress but never taking steps to manage it.
What are the different types of stress?
There are three different types of levels of stress: acute, episodic, and chronic.
Acute stress is the body’s response to a possible challenge. Symptoms include an upset stomach, muscle tension, and a rapid heartbeat.
Episodic acute stress refers to a situation where a person often experiences acute stress. This stress level can be exhausting, as an individual may feel like there’s a dark cloud constantly hovering over them, making everything go wrong. And if measures aren’t taken to reduce stress, this could lead to relationship issues and unintentional hostility.
Chronic stress is becoming more and more common in the modern world because life is so demanding. Many people work long hours at thankless jobs and struggle financially, which can lead to constant stress. If someone lives with chronic stress, their body is in a perpetual state of fight or flight. And high amounts of stress are not doing their health any favors.
What are the signs and symptoms of stress?
Stress can manifest in four main ways, even in children and adolescents. Those four ways include physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and behavioral symptoms.
Some physical symptoms of stress include:
- Irregular periods
- Irregular bowel movements
- Chest pain
- Compromised immune system (getting sick more than usual)
A few emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
- Brain fog
- Memory problems
Lastly, behavioral symptoms of stress include:
- Changes in sleep habits
- New or increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs
- Changes in eating patterns
None of these symptoms are pleasant to experience. This fact is especially true for a child, to whom the world can already be a large and intimidating place.
Sources of stress for middle school and high school students
The adolescent years are very formative, and they can also be challenging. Teenagers have to adjust to a bigger workload at school, learn how to safely navigate social media (which can also be an enormous source of emotional stress by itself), and learn about their changing bodies. Even worse, stress can continue well into adulthood, starting with college.
With so many factors playing on their mental and emotional health, it’s difficult for adolescents to know how to deal with stress at school.
Sources of stress for college students
College students also have a lot on their plates. Not only does their workload increase significantly after high school, but students often go into debt to pay for school, and they have to learn how to be independent.
Unsurprisingly, a 2015 survey of over 100 tertiary education institutions in the US found that stress was a serious academic impediment. Students felt exhausted and overwhelmed due to the responsibilities and pressures of being at university.
But no parent wants to see their child struggling to cope with stress. Luckily, there are some actionable tips that parents can give their children if they want to learn how to deal with stress at school.
Seven ways to deal with stress at school
There are several ways to deal with stress, and it’s essential to give a child multiple options so they can learn which methods help them take care of their mental health.
1. Positive affirmations
Remind children and adolescents to use affirmations and positive thinking. While it sounds small, having a more positive outlook can help children manage stress successfully. However, it’s important to note that while positive thinking is a great tool, it is not a cure-all.
2 Exercise regularly
Another good tip for stress relief is to remind children and adolescents to be physically active on a regular basis. Working out can take many forms: yoga, biking, walking, hiking, running, HIIT, kickboxing, weight-lifting, swimming, martial arts, or playing a team sport.
The opportunities to make the body healthier are plentiful! And by incorporating exercise into their daily schedules, kids can manage stress better and have healthier bodies.
3. Play music
Music is also a fantastic stress-management tool, and it’s one of the easiest to implement. Different kinds of music have been shown to have different benefits. For example, slower songs help with relaxation, and classical music helps with concentration.
4. Practice self-care
If a child wants to learn how to deal with stress at school, self-care is another good tip, even though it’s often neglected. Self-care involves nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness.
Nutrition consists of eating healthy foods, which is difficult during times of high stress when a person is likely craving junk food. Sleep is also vital, yet many people don’t sleep enough, opting to squeeze in a few extra hours of studying or the next episode of their favorite TV show. Mindfulness is also just as important as nutrition and sleep, as it lets children digest the events of their day through meditation, deep breathing, or a leisure walk around campus.
5. Take breaks
Remind kids to take breaks. When an exam is looming, or there are just a few hours until that term paper is due, it’s easy to forget to take breaks and try to push through the fatigue and fogginess. But the brain and body need rest. Taking frequent short breaks can help clear the mind and make studying or researching much more effective.
6. Build time management skills
There’s little benefit for kids to spread themselves too thin or not practice good time management. Many children and young adults do several academic courses and then add extracurricular activities to the mix. This schedule leaves them with too many commitments and too little time (and mental bandwidth) to keep up with all of the demands. Instead, kids should practice good time management skills to prevent or reduce stress.
7. Stay organized
When kids wonder how to deal with stress at school, they may not consider this last tip. But encourage children to stay organized. Clutter and mess can cause stress, so help them figure out how to keep their workspaces tidy. Doing so will remove one stressor from the equation.
These lifestyle changes can have a transformative impact on an impressionable mind, and the good habits children develop can help them well into adulthood. However, if they need more support, CBD can provide help.
How CBD relieves school-related stress
Many studies have shown the efficacy of CBD for stress and anxiety. The National Institute on Drug Abuse even states that CBD reduced stress in rats. Both their behavioral and physiological symptoms—such as rapid heartbeat—improved when the rats received CBD.
Luckily, college students can take CBD if they want to prevent or relieve stress. But unfortunately, a child in K–12th grade can’t take CBD at school that easily. Parents usually hesitate to let their child use CBD because of judgment, fear of rejection, or fear of looking like a bad parent. Additionally, the use of CBD may not be allowed at the child’s school.
How to get CBD approved at school
If stress is having a detrimental impact on a child’s health and wellbeing, and parents have tried CBD at home with success, they may want to get the remedy approved at their child’s 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 don’t 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 child’s mental health. If the principal is leery, ask them if a doctor’s note would change their mind. If the nurse is given a doctor’s note, the CBD should theoretically be treated just like any other medication.
Ultimately, if the principal refuses, there’s nothing parents can do. They might have to work their child’s CBD schedule around school, perhaps giving it to them before and after school instead of during.
Stress management is an integral part of life
While parents can’t remove stress from their child’s life, they can teach them different techniques to manage and reduce it. Unmanaged stress can cause health problems down the road, so it’s important for children of all ages to learn how to deal with this unavoidable facet of life.