Stress Management Group Forms to Aid Students

Sophie Jurion, Staff Writer

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School, homework, extracurriculars activities, sleep, repeat… high schoolers can relate to that phrase more than anyone. There was an introduction meeting for the Stress Management Group in the beginning of November led by school counselors, Dr. Barry Rosellini and Ms. Mentele, and many students may benefit in that there will be time for discussing what kinds of things are stressful and time to strategize how to manage and cope with stress. Leigh Jenson ’20 is excited to be a member of the Stress Management Group because she is hoping to help her friends with coping mechanisms, “I think I deal with stress in a healthy way because I like to look at pictures of Harry Styles to relax me or I go on walks or I just stop doing what I am doing and lay down for a little bit. I love listening to music, like Harry Styles. Harry Styles is my therapist.”

Dr. Rosellini states, “It is not our goal to eliminate stress completely, but to change our relationship with stress to a more positive one. Stress is something we all have and can motivate us towards action. In fact, there is research that perceiving stress in a positive manner can increase our life span! Additionally, this group will help students recognize what stress looks like, both in the brain and in the body, and learn how to cope with it in a healthy way. Some of the activities we will do may involve relaxation, practicing mindfulness skills, and having discussions about stress and how it impacts our lives.” 

            With the pressures of school, sports, relationships, and family, many students experience high levels of chronic stress to the extent that it impedes their abilities to succeed academically and compromises their mental health. Leigh Jenson ’20 believes she sometimes does not put her mental health as a priority, “Homework takes a lot of time and most of the time I don’t have a lot of time to chill.”

            With winter approaching, getting out of the cozy bed in the morning feels more daunting than ever. It is tempting to hit that snooze button or click the next episode of your favorite Netflix TV show. The reason students procrastinate varies from person to person. Sometimes it is a hidden fear that students do not want to acknowledge, or it could be because of lack of motivation and drive. Procrastination is a leading cause to all-nighters which will result in large eye-bags and fatigue the next school day. Dr. Rosellini discusses, “Goal setting and celebrating the small wins can help keep you motivated. Setting goals can help keep you on track, especially if your goals are something you value.”

Ms. Mentele reflects, “Working with stress is less about how to avoid it, such as through procrastination or other means, but learning what we need do to work with it. Additionally, looking at our stress and asking ourselves “what can I control?” may be helpful. By doing so, we may find we are spending unnecessary energy on something in the future/past that we cannot control. Then, we can shift our focus to something more important, or to practicing a coping skill.”

According to the National Institute of Health, Research suggests that the teenage brain needs 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Currently less than 9% of teens get enough sleep. So, given this research, a later start time could help promote better sleep, which in effect may have positive effects on concentration and memory. There are schools in the area that have moved to later start times, for example high schools in Seattle Public Schools. Dr. Rosellini says, “It will be interesting to see if Prep or other schools that have moved to later start times share positive outcomes. It would also be interesting to see if there’s a difference in our student’s mindset on late start days versus regular school, maybe that’s something to explore in the future!”

There is a significant number of students who experience anxiety and stress, as well as a great deal of interest in learning more about these issues. Stress Management Group is very inclusive, and it provides the perfect opportunity to address these issues!

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