How to handle any stressy sitch life throws at you
Lets get real: Even on a good day, stress is almost unavoidable. But around this time of year—as finals, playoffs and other major events (hello, prom!) loom in the not-so-distant future—the pressure just piles on.
So how can you escape unscathed? Here’s our advice for keeping calm and carrying on—no matter how big the stress storm.
Stressy sitch: You’re so far behind in Spanish, it’s driving you muy loco. If you don’t do something quickly, you might not even pass the class.
Handle it: Bring your worries to your teacher’s attention. Tell her why you’re having such a tough time—and ask what you can do to catch up. Maybe she’ll offer some extra-credit work or time after school to help you finally figure out those conjugations. Asking around about a tutor is a good move, too. Whatever you do, don’t struggle in silence, señorita.
Stressy sitch: You choke at the worst moments—like standing at the free-throw line, preparing to sing your state choir solo or getting up in front of the class to give your oral history report.
Handle it: When you’re feeling the heat, the best thing to do is take three deep breaths—inhale slowly to a count of five, then exhale slowly to a count of five. Then, smile. It’ll relax your face and mask any anxiety you may be feeling. Finally, say to yourself, “Here goes my best,” and just do your thing. And remember, the more you prepare for life’s big moments, the better you’ll be able to handle them: So practice, practice, practice. Eventually, you’ll find your groove under pressure.
Stressy sitch: You took a boatload of honors and AP courses this semester and, as a result, your GPA fell from a 4.0 to a 3.3. Now, it’s time to tell your parents.
Handle it: Instead of confronting them with nothing but negative news, put a positive spin on it. You may not have a 4.0, but you *did* pick up some valuable skills this year—like putting together an amazing presentation and writing a killer research paper. Then, explain that while your grades may not be as stellar this semester, you now know how much you can handle academically. Above all, express that you’re trying your best (because you are, right?) and that you understand the importance of good grades. They’ll be impressed with your achievements—and the mature attitude you’re taking toward learning.
Stressy sitch: Two nights before finals, you’re sideswiped by awful news (like... your BF breaks up with you or your parents tell you they’re separating). Ouch.
Handle it: It’s all about getting your head back in the game ASAP. You may be totally hurt and completely shocked, but it’s key to keep plugging away so your grades don’t suffer, too. Know that you didn’t do anything to cause this pain, so don’t beat yourself up. Soak in a bubble bath, journal your feelings and try to regain your mental strength. You’ll inevitably have to deal with more sadness later on—but, for now, look at studying as a welcome distraction. After all, your life may be chaotic, but acing your finals is something you can control.
Stressy sitch: Prom’s coming up in a week—but your crush hasn’t asked you to go yet.
Handle it: No sweat—just do the asking yourself! Casually swing by their locker, smile and say, “So hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we go to prom together? Could be fun.” Stay cool and casual and friendly—and hopefully they’ll be into your chill vibe (and flattered, too) and you’ll snag yourself a date. And should they be so foolish as to say no for some reason? Ask someone else or go with a gang of your girls and have a blast.
Stressy sitch: You were set to head to basketball camp this summer—until your parents “surprised” you with six weeks at a sleep-away science program. How are you going to persuade them to let you choose ball over beakers?
Handle it: Sit your parents down and (calmly) tell them why you think it’s better for you in the long run to, say, work on your shooting skills than spend all summer researching sustainable energy. And hear them out, too: They just want what’s best for you, and there is that teensy chance that they actually know what they’re talking about. Can’t come to terms? Try negotiating: Seek out a similar—but shorter—program at your local community college that’ll give you enough time to also attend basketball camp. That way, you can please everybody. Most of all, yourself.
Stressy sitch: Everyone else in your class is counting the seconds until final bell, but you’re anxious about school ending (and the fact that it means you’re one year closer to college).
Handle it: Change is scary— we’re not going to lie. But the reality is that a lot of us waste time worrying about things that are never as bad as we imagine. Next year is probably going to be just as great as this one. Actually, it’ll be better: The added pressure that comes with applying to college also means more excitement about all of the amazing things that are in store for you. So stop fretting about what’s ahead. Embrace the present and tell yourself the best is yet to come. Life may be an unknown adventure, but you’ve got the skills to handle whatever comes your way.
What do you do to chill out when you're stressed? Share your relaxation hacks in the comments.