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Three Ways to Cope with School & Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress Blog Image

At  Futures Academy, we see your teen as more than just a student. We see each student as a whole person and we encourage holistic approaches to addressing common academic problems such as school related stress. In fact, we acknowledge that what sometimes looks like school-related stress may actually be related to a student's overall health. This can particularly occur during the holidays. This time of year, we encourage families to look for signs of stress in their teens and to explore healthy solutions that could likely reduce it. Our goal is to nurture each student's optimal physical, mental, social, and academic wellbeing.

Here are three things to consider when dealing with school and holiday stress.  

1. Lack of Healthy Eating

One thing that can fall by the wayside during the holiday season is healthy eating. The presence of sweet holiday treats, coupled with disrupted meal schedules, can make it easy for kids to eat less healthy and fill up on junk, which can make them more irritable and stressed. Numerous studies have shown the deleterious effects a sweet tooth can have on mood, learning and quality of life.

Try having healthy snacks available for in-between meals such as apple slices or air-popped popcorn with cheese and crackers, and limit holiday sweets to after-snack/meal treats.

2. Changes in Routine

During the holidays, schedules can get disrupted which can be tough on kids because most kids tend to function better when they stick to a regular schedule or routine. Good routines can help your teen to feel grounded and secure, as well as helping them plan their time more effectively.  Disrupted schedules around the holidays can lead to stress in students, and this can affect their behavior and performance at school.

If you find your teen increasingly acting up at home or at school during the holiday season, try setting limits on your holiday gatherings and outings. And try to get your teen back to the regular routine as soon as an event of activity is over. If an activity goes past your child’s bedtime, stick to limited and calm activities the next day and make sure your teen goes to bed on time. 

3. Ensure adequate sleep

Lack of sleep takes its toll on productivity and emotional health. According to the American Psychological Association, "sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood." The APA goes on to say that "on average, teens say they sleep 7.4 hours a night on a school night and 8.1 hours a night on a non-school night." This is less than the 8.5-9.25 hours they recommend as necessary for teens to optimally function.

Try turning off all technology at least an hour before you want your teen to go to bed. Some people have trouble falling asleep right after looking at a bright screen and studies even suggest that the blue light on computer screens limits the production of melatonin, which is a hormone necessary for sleep. 

The holidays don't have to be a time of stress for your teen. Just one or more of these simple health tips could provide dramatic relief to your teen's stress levels and fluctuating moods. This way, your whole family can relax and focus on enjoying the holidays.