Acting Assistant Principal - Student Wellbeing

Coping Strategies to deal with Stress and Pressure

Different people deal with stress and pressure in different ways, some are healthy, while some are not so healthy. Dealing with stress and pressure is inevitable in life (and learning to deal with it) whether it is at work, school, in the sporting arena, performing arts or in your personal life.  Being able to deal with stress and pressure in a positive, healthy way can be beneficial to personal development (physically, emotionally and intellectually); improving your resilience; as well as building self-confidence.

Diet

When we are under stress and pressure, we tend to be time poor and consequently the healthy eating habits can be pushed aside in favour of the quick hunger fixes that provide little health or nutritional value. A balanced healthy diet that will help deal with stress and pressure includes:

  • Plenty of water
  • 3-5 servings of fruit AND vegetables every day.
  • Regular mealtimes – breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • A diet that includes all 5 food groups
  • Snacks that are healthy and natural, keep the sugar to a minimum

Sleep

Trying to function at a high level when you are sleep deprived usually creates even more stress on your body.  A healthy sleep for teenagers is 8-10 hours every night.  The younger you are the more sleep you need to aide your development. A couple of hints to ensure this happens:

  • Put devices out of the room to avoid the temptation to check them at all hours of the night.
  • Develop a regular bedtime routine – time you go to bed, based on how much sleep you know you need and what time you need to be up.
  • Reduce food intake prior to bedtime. Meals ideally should be eaten at least two hours prior. Similar with drinks – water only after the two-hour window.
  • Reduce screen time prior to bed – the greater the gap between screens going away and bedtime helps with your ability to go to sleep. Reading a book or listening to music can also assist if you have trouble going to sleep. 

Exercise

Usually one of the first things to go when we are busy is the amount of physical activity that we do, but the benefits of daily exercise can never be underestimated, from improving memory and brain function to improving sleep ability.  Coupled with a quality diet, exercise can provide a release from the stress and pressure and allow greater focus on the tasks that need to be completed and result in greater productivity.  It can be as simple as taking the family pet for a walk around the neighbourhood for 30 minutes.

Goals and Rewards

A key thing to keep you going when the stress and pressure is high, is to set yourself personal goals and lock in rewards (when you achieve the goals) to make the hard work seem worthwhile. The bigger the goal you achieve, the bigger the reward for yourself.  You should have short term, small goals that are easy to achieve (with a small reward) that lead to long term large goals that are more difficult to achieve (with a larger reward).  The rewards don’t need to be materialistic. They can be simple things like giving yourself the night off from study if you have been studying really hard for a sustained long period or working on a hobby that you love but haven’t had the time to do, or an extra hour sleep in or later bedtime on the weekend.

James Roberts

Acting Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing

 

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