education

Tackling the Tightrope of High School: Top 10 Tips for Improving Student Mental Wellness

Navigating through the trials and tribulations of school, high school or college, is a feat on par with walking a tightrope. The stress and change in your life makes you feel like you are constantly about to drop. Too much push and pull to one side, and you may just fall into the abyss. While this may be a little dramatic, school definitely takes a toll on the mental health and performance of teenagers or young adults all around the world. Our lives are starting to look completely different: we are almost ready to leave the nest, but there’s so much to get through before that first flight. With the proper tips and tricks, the journey can start looking a bit more possible and even successful. You just have to keep the perfect balance.

Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Student Mental Wellness

Mental Health Tip 1: Communicating 

One of the most important tips in maintaining proper mental health is being able to reach out. By building a support system for yourself, you have a plethora of different places to go when you are feeling down or overwhelmed. Talking a problem out with a friend, parent, or counselor might be exactly what you need to lift the weight off of your shoulders. They will give you advice on how to help or perhaps simply lend an ear. No one expects a teenager to get through this mentally-grueling experience alone. High school is about communicating with others and forming teams that will always fight for you. It is incredible how relieved you may feel from just talking something out. 

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Mental Health Tip 2: Positivity

Throughout my junior year, my psychology teacher would always express to me how crucial it was to improve your attitude. “Fake it till you make it,” she would say. While it seems silly, telling yourself that you can do something actually helps you do it. You make these bold and optimistic claims, but in the end acting like your own personal cheerleaders takes you that much closer to achieving them. 

Mental Wellness Tip 3: Optimization

Whatever the task at hand might be, make it as easy as possible. Find study guides and Quizlets online so that you don’t spend too time making your own. Purchase a prep book that accompanies you in your studying. Ask siblings or friends that have already taken your classes for assistance or advice. If you have spent too long staring at a problem, look up the solution and work backwards or maybe shoot your teacher an email. These are just a few things you could do to optimize your focus time and make life a whole lot easier. 

Speaking of time management and study optimization, learn more about you can maximize your time as a student with the most effective study strategies, science-approved.

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Mental Wellness Tip 4: “Me Time”

I cannot express how absolutely vital it is to set aside time for yourself. The first image that popped to your head might have been a bubble bath or spa day. While these activities are certainly relaxing, I envision a Marvel movie and some freshly buttered popcorn. Going back to the tightrope, this type of task is what counters the academic pressure. By balancing a heavy workload with a laid back activity that you personally need and enjoy, you are able to not only reward yourself and improve behaviorism, but keep yourself sane. Ultimately, do what makes you happy, as that should always be the priority. 

Mental Health Tip 5: Mother Nature

There is some healing aura about the outdoors. Everything about it screams freedom, serenity, and warmth—even on the rainiest day in winter, going outside seems to warm your heart. This is necessary to contrast the structure of school. Take some time to venture out on a walk or soak in some sunlight if you require a mental break. The liberation of a world with no walls might be exactly what you need to unwind after a long day of hard work. 

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Mental Health Tip 6: Your People

Humanity was built for companionship. Try to reach out and find people that bring you comfort and happiness. They probably need you as much as you need them. The social scene of high school is a challenge of its own; but again, don’t face it alone. Find comrades that keep a smile on your lips and a sparkle in your eyes, and your high school journey will start looking a lot different.

Mental Wellness Tip 7: Physical Activity

It’s imperative to exercise regularly, and not just your brain. Having your heart rate up and adrenaline flowing through your veins tackles stress from an entirely different angle. Physical activity will keep you fit as well as take your mind off of school drama or work. It is the perfect break from work and can be catered and performed to your liking. There is an immense variety of activities, so find what fits you best and try to embrace it regularly.

Want to learn more about the health benefits of physical activity? Learn more about the science of why and top reasons in our article here!

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Mental Wellness Tip 8: Self Pride

Surviving a day of high school is a task worthy of praise. Never criticize yourself and dwell on regrets and faults. The cheesy saying of “love yourself” speaks high volumes. It’s important to be proud and value your hard work. One major thing I have learned from high school is that learning to live off of internal rewards can become a great strength. I used to completely rely on external rewards such as grades, feedback, and others’ approval. While these factors still play a role in my mindset, I have learned not to give them that much power. Lastly, don’t feel like everyday has to entail moving magnanimous mountains. Sometimes, just getting through the day is enough.

Mental Wellness Tip 9: Goals

I will never be able to describe the joy that comes with crossing a task off of a To-Do list, however small the accomplishment. Setting high but realistic goals allows you to keep track of what needs to be done and warrants a sense of pride when finishing them. It encourages time management and allows that internal reward system mentioned above to thrive.

Speaking of time management and goals setting, learn more about you can maximize your time as a student with the most effective study strategies, science-approved.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Mental Health Tip 10: Goodnight

When it comes to rest, less is most definitely not more. Teenagers supposedly require between eight and ten hours of sleep every night. However, I have friends who get about half this requirement on a daily basis. Your brain really needs this rest to fully develop at the age of 25. Sleeping is also a necessary reset at the end of your school day. You will wake up with a smile on your face, ready to work and focus. Staying up late to study for an important test is futile if you’re barely awake during the test: the risk often does not reap the reward. 

To learn more about why sleep is so important for your growing body and health (whether as students, teens, or adults!), check out our educational article here and the science behind the importance of sleep!

Conclusion: Improving Your Mental Wellness for Teens and Students

Hopefully, with these 10 tips, you will be ready to tackle the daunting halls of high school with a little more confidence. If you follow even a portion of this advice, your mental health will thank you. Keep your chin up while walking this tightrope; enjoy the journey, and when you get to the other side, an entirely new one will be taking off. Just remember, balance is the key. 

Works Cited

“Five Tips to Help Teens Cope with Stress.” Mental Health First Aid, 26 June 2019, http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2019/06/five-tips-to-help-teens-cope-with-stress/.

“Sleep for Teenagers.” Sleep Foundation, 29 May 2020, http://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/teens-and-sleep.

Summit Academy Management. “8 Tips for Improving Mental Wellness in Students.” Summit Academy Schools, Summit Academy Management, 8 Feb. 2016, summitacademies.org/8-tips-improving-mental-wellness-students/.

Szabo, Ross. 5 Mental Health Tips for Back to School. 10 Apr. 2017, rossszabo.com/5-mental-health-tips-for-back-to-school/.

“University Health Service.” Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health | University Health Service, http://www.uhs.umich.edu/tenthings.

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