Opinion: Keep your mental health in mind while keeping up with school

A student sits at a desk filled with homework, Advanced Placement test prep books, and text books. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic photo)

By ANNALYSE YGLESIAS

High school is a very stressful time in life. Between getting good grades, thinking about college, and choosing what career you want to pursue, it may seem too much for a teen who just wants to do well.

Teens generally want to make sure they do all those things right and make good choices, but for many, doing all that and keeping their mental health up is a struggle. There are many reasons why the end of the school year is unhealthy for young teens. The goal of this article to encourage students to keep their mental health in mind while also keeping up with school.

Students feel pressure from the start of middle school to get good grades in order to attend college. This worry over getting good grades for college as early as middle school or freshman year in high school exists before many even have any idea about what they will do in their future.

Researchers in Sweden recently conducted a study published in BMC Psychiatry, on how school affects adolescents’ mental health. The researchers admit that much more information is needed on teaching and social environments before reaching conclusive evidence, but so far they have found “Longitudinal studies indicate strong associations between school proficiency and indicators of mental health throughout adulthood.”

In high school, keeping up with school work and taking care of oneself can be made more challenging if unaware of how much a mental break is needed. Taking a mental or physical break can mean different things for different people. Stretching, laying down, or taking a nap are some examples of how some prevent from getting too strung out.

While strong mental health can be a process, it is also something that people can start working on at any time. In the 2015 Psychology Today article, “9 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Today,” Dr. Patricia Harteneck offers suggestions on how to keep the mind and body healthy. For instance, “Tell yourself something positive” is the first thing listed.

The second recommendation is to “Tell yourself something you are grateful for, find something you are grateful for, and let it fill your heart, and bask in that feeling.”

Out of all Harteneck’s nine steps, the most helpful one for high school students could be, “Taking a break, in those moments where it all seems like too much, step away, and do anything but whatever was stressing you out until you feel a little better.” Taking a break from things that are causing stress or adding to feelings of being overwhelmed can help not just with decreasing stress, but also increasing happiness.

Overall, there are many solutions to keep one from being stressed out. Listen to your body, and if you feel like you need a break or maybe your body is barely making it through the day, it is most likely correct. Don’t push yourself to keep going, for you know what you feel and can tell when you need to put a hold on things. Be able to recognize when enough is enough.

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