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How do I balance everything while managing my stress?

Currently, I'm a sophomore in high school who is studying for the SAT, AP Government, and AP Language exams at the same time. I'm an extremely competitive person and am trying to get top scores on all three exams while maintaining a very high GPA as well. Recently, I had a breakdown because I got so frustrated at the fact that I have to study for so many different things at the same time and still manage other things like grades, clubs, and volunteering. I want to be a top performer for the PSAT test very badly, and am working really hard to do it, but am really struggling. How can I balance so many things at once, still do well, and still remain sane?
#stress-management #AP #psat

Thank you comment icon I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling with managing your stress. When we have high expectations and so many things pulling us in different directions, it can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves. I would encourage you to try mindfulness meditation, even if it is only for 5 minutes a day. You can find free videos on YouTube. Here are some more self care ideas: A therapist can also help you find other ways to help manage your stress. Good luck! Haylei Lorca
Thank you comment icon Hi Hanan, wow, you are working hard! To be able to thrive and get your results you are working towards you must take time to refuel and recharge YOUR batteries. You might like to opt out some other activities that are not your priority at this time (for example your volunteering). You know how on airplanes they always tell you to put on your air mask first? Figure out what is the best way to refresh your body and mind. Is it a walk or going to a dance class or just dancing in your room for 5 minutes? Build these into your schedule and stick to them just as if they were a study activity. Zaara KittenChops
Thank you comment icon Thirdly, ASK FOR SUPPORT from adults, friends, and family. Write a list of how people in your life can support you thru this intense period and talk to them about what you need. You deserve the support from everyone in your environment and the support from yourself. Honor your self, pay attention how you feel, speak up if you need anything. You are not alone; you don't have to do all this alone. Zaara KittenChops
Thank you comment icon I agree with Ms. Lorca and I have some things to add. It seems you may have bitten off more than you can chew. You may need to use your list of obligations and prioritize them. One they are ranked you can decide which one or two to put on the back burner or drop completely so you can narrow your focus and concentrate on fewer tasks. You must have time in your daily schedule for down time. Eat a balanced diet and don’t skip any meals. Enjoy some physical activity, even if it’s just walking around or stretching. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour so you can get a full night’s sleep each night. I know you’re probably thinking that you can’t do that. I think you must if you plan to survive high school, college, graduate school and a successful professional career. Paul V. Suppicich, Esq.
Thank you comment icon Hello Hanan, first I would try and relax myself. Listen to uplifting music and pray. Then I would write down a schedule of how you plan to study for each test. I would schedule a set time to study for each test on a separate day. Not all at once because that is how you are becoming overwhelmed. I would take short breaks while studying to let the information process so you can remember it better. I would get rest, eat right, and think positive that you can achieve a high score. You have to prepare though but I do not recommend doing everything at once. Alexis K. Ellis
Thank you comment icon You can't do too many things at once. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. For one, you are too young to be that stressed out (you will have enough time for that later on as an adult). Sometimes we have to figure out what are the essentials in life. Try asking yourself questions i.e: are all the things that I commit to the same things I will be committed to in the future? You also seem to be your biggest obstacle and you compete more with yourself. This can be a blessing and a curse. I don't like to advise a lot, but I would advise you to lighten up, don't be so hard on yourself, take a little time out everyday just for you to do something for you and please don't forget to have fun. You only come this way once. Make it a good journey. Blessings and luck to you. Nay Dunnaway

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Sen’s Answer

Hello Hanan,

I fully appreciate what you are facing today. As parents we were facing similar issue at home when our daughter wanted to do her best in everything that she did from her schooling to graduation. When you are running endlessly after the best GPA, cracking competitive exam and more...more... and that's where problems start entering into your personal realm.

First and foremost, let me say that it is good to be at the top every time, but not at the cost of health and happiness! This kind of pressure leads to long term, deep seated stress and that leads to life long health problem. There can be problems like irritation and anger but there are some serious problems like digestive disorders (constipation, gas formation etc), hormonal disorders (Thyroid prob is one of them ) and sleep disorders also may creep in silently.

For some people this kind of arduous routine may come easy, at least on the surface of it, but for others it may not be so. So, how to deal with it? That's the question and I shall try to attempt that.

  1. You have to prioritize your goals (short term and long term both) and carry out analysis which is to be attempted in which order and devote time as per that analysis.
  2. Based on your goal please make your time plan and if required seek help. Please work hard but keep time for relaxation through mingling and talking (not through Whats App or some such smartphone app but meeting in flesh and blood) with friends and family. Quality time with them reduces stress a lot. In fact, Bengalees (people who speak Bangla language) do have a practice of chating/gossiping/debating at times loudly with family members, friends over a cup of tea/coffee and spend lot of time discussion anything and everything under the sun, which they call it : Adda. I find that this is a great stress buster although too much of it is not good.
  3. In addition to studies, devote some time everyday for sports like jogging/walking or any other vocation like singing, music or dance etc.
  4. Take guided help for Yoga and meditation from someone who is a practicing coach. There are many sites which are available giving help/tips to yoga and meditation. If you can do nothing then do deep breathing exercise for 15-20 mins morning and evening in a secluded cozy corner of your home and if possible keep a very soft soothing music ON during that exercise. You will get relaxed.

Remember health is priceless! No loss is bigger than loss of health! So look after your health and then everything will fall in place. All the very best!

Sen recommends the following next steps:

Visit the following URL to know more about Aadda. › Blogs › City Blogs
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Hanan
Thank you comment icon Welcome! I appreciate! Sen MP, Ph.D
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Karla’s Answer

I hear you, and I am sorry you are struggling with stress. I see myself in you, trying to keep my scholarship, we need high scores, and I was working at the same time to get some income. My recommendations is first to:
- Set a plan: what are the topics you need to take care and when do you have to do each of them. Define priorities based on your timelines.
- Sometimes studying with someone else could be easier (if you pick the right partner) because what you do not understand, the other person may.
- Also take short breaks to clear your mind. It could be a 10 minutes walk, or simply closing your eyes and listening to your breathing, or something else that keeps your mind away of the stressful activities during that break.
- Try to exercise at least 3 times per week (30 minutes). You will see how first it helps to release stress, and it also increases your concentration.
- Sleep well. You need to rest to give your brain time to recover.

Regarding school: I am a very visual person, so the topics that are difficult to remember I tend to write them on a big post-it and hang them around my room. So everytime, I walk by, I will read them and then it just becomes easier after a few days.