Do you have a teenager or young adult feeling stressed with upcoming exams?
Are they struggling with performance or feeling anxious about what the end of the year will bring?
Did you know that 1 in 3 young people experience “high” or “very high” levels of stress?
As we near the end of the year, many students, both in high school or at uni or college to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Exams are looming, assessments are due, and they may be feeling an array of emotions that they’re struggling to cope with – end of year stress stress takes over!
How can they fit in enough study time without being exhausted?
How will they perform in their exams and for their end of year results?
As a parent or carer it can be hard for you to watch them struggle. It’s important to look out for signs they need some help:
- Overwhelm, high emotions
- Avoiding or withdrawing from tasks
- Feeling pressure, stress, not sleeping
You can assist to create a manageable environment for your child and family with a few steps.
In my experience, what really assists students facing end of year stress and feelings of overwhelm is setting a routine and proper schedule. Allowing for small engagement in tasks is better than no engagement in tasks at all. Acknowledging their feelings of stress and worry when commencing tasks is valid and ensure they have a plan for that task – e.g. today, read for 5 minutes about (topic). Choose one small area to focus on. Planning creates a more manageable environment and makes it easier to engage in the overwhelming task, therefore decreasing stress once engaged.
How You Can Help Your Child Manage Stress
- Plan – set up a roster/schedule = what are we going to do today;
g. Monday: reading psychology part 1; Tuesday: writing notes psychology part 1; Wednesday: reading psychology part 2; Thursday: writing notes psychology part 2
Friday: revision – psychology part 1 and 2 etc.
- Break tasks up into small chunks that they feel they can achieve. Ensure tasks are manageable; e.g. today, read biology part 1, breaking it up into 10 minute study intervals.
- Ensure your child is taking short breaks to remain focused and fresh. Stepping outside for 5 minutes and taking in some fresh air clears the mind.
Small Actions to Try at Home
- Stay present – ensure their desk/work space is tidy; limit distractions; drink water to stay hydrated.
- Sleeping and eating correctly allows better management of emotions (stress). You’d be surprised how the types of food we eat, and lack of sleep can affect our stress levels.
- Use a monthly planner to break up tasks and allow your child to follow and adhere to a schedule/plan. They will feel prepared, therefore less stressed and overwhelmed.
- Ensure they are taking time out for themselves. Engaging in hobbies, self-care, light regular exercise, being social with friends and having family time. This all contributes to mental wellbeing and assists with overwhelm and chaos.
Try these steps at home with your teen or young adult to see if it helps them with their end of year stress levels. Give it a go for a week and take it one step at a time. You’ll find with time that having a plan can make all the difference.
Written by Psychologist Cassandra Wesley Klements – www.creatingchange