We all know that high school’s a tough time. Between dealing with the six AP courses you’ve regrettably signed up for, your angsty teenage friends, and the ungodly hours at which you sleep and wake up (if you do sleep), let’s face it–high school often seems like a never-ending source of anxiety. Especially in a group of ultra-competitive students, we all seem to want to beat out our peers…no matter the cost. Although keeping your grades up and your social life alive seems like the only goal, it’s extremely important to remember your limits and not to push yourself too hard at the risk of burning out.
Remembering Your Limits
Burning out in high school is most often a result of excessive (and ignored) stress that causes extreme exhaustion mentally, physically, and basically in every way. It’s dangerous, causing many high school students to rapidly lose the energy they once had and feel overwhelmingly anxious and helpless. And news flash–burnouts can even, and maybe especially, happen to the over-achieving Renaissance Students who seem to be able to do anything.
Although it’s good to reach for the stars, it is important to know your limits. Maybe you shouldn’t take that 5th AP class so you can make more time for Science Olympiad. Sometimes, it isn’t worth it to pull the all-nighter to study for your APUSH test because you might forget about the math project due the next day. But the problem is, students seem to forget that their own limits may be different from their best friend’s. It’s easy to say and hard to do, but keeping your limits at an accessible place may just be the key to success and the way to avoid burnout. Educate yourself on who you are and know what you’re capable of. Although you may only periodically score with flying colors on your Chemistry tests (pun intended), maybe you’re the school’s history super star.
But even those who do know their limits always need an outlet. Thankfully, there’s an abundance of ways you can get yourself out of burnout!
How to Cope with Stress
Nowadays, curling up under a blanket with a bucket of ice cream and the cheesiest rom-com on Netflix (or who knows, it could be a 300 kind of day) is one of the most popular ways to cool down. But some of us are prone to accidentally finishing entire seasons of Game of Thrones in one sitting (I can’t deny it), and are dying for other ways to relieve ourselves.
Although exercise (ugh) seems incredibly daunting and gross, it’s known to produce chemicals that can potentially reverse the effects of burning out. If you’re the type that hates running with a passion, there are several other fun ways to get yourself moving: you could try biking on a scenic trail, playing tennis, frisbee with your friends, or hot yoga. You might even do a few jumping jacks while the microwave is on for a quick calmer.
Time management is also a quick saver and a good way to keep our lives in order. Sometimes, stress results from not having been prepared for something, or just feeling overwhelmed by the madness at school. In high school, developing a system to keep ourselves in track is a great idea. Although it’s different for everyone, some of us like to keep a daily, weekly, or monthly calendar, making lists online or on paper, color coding our schedules, or making prioritized lists. Make sure you know how you function best, and tailor your daily routine to whatever makes you least stressed.
Lastly, know when to take a break. Although studying for hours on end may seem like the most time-efficient way to get things done, a 20-minute break for a snack, some caffeine, or a nice nap might be a great energy boost for your productivity levels, and relieve you of some stress.
Even while coping with stress, it’s imperative to educate ourselves about ourselves, because the things we like to do the most are almost always the things that will help us cope most effectively. The little things that make us happy could be folding laundry, painting a picture, baking some cupcakes, or just going outside for a few minutes. Despite how cliché this sounds, I’m going to say it anyway. We’re all unique people with different talents and passions, and although the academic education we receive is highly valuable, remembering who we are and what we can achieve ourselves is the most important way to avoid burning out and to ultimately reach success.