Wellness on Campus

Just how important is self-care for high school students? From school to mental health to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year brings challenges that are difficult to manage. Students share their tips to ease the stress.

Dare Fitzpatrick, Lifestyle Editor & Business Manager

For many high school students, stress is common, whether that stress is related to homework, grades, mental health, social groups or the pandemic.

These trying times only add to the feelings of discomfort and anxiety that come along with being a teenager.

Upper school students, in particular, are under a great deal of pressure; the weight of the pandemic is coupled with Laguna’s high-academic standards and other forms of anxiety that might arise outside of the classroom.

In a survey of 25 students, 80% said they think that they are under a significant amount of stress, and 72% said that they are somewhat stressed.

Meditation Club leader junior Maura Jaye is familiar with the fields of wellness and self-care.

She agrees with the survey results that indicate students’ stress. “[Students] are experiencing a good deal of stress. Whether it be related to COVID-19, college applications, classes or something else; everyone is dealing with an excessive amount of anxiety and stress,” Maura said.

Freshman Mina Yazadzhiev agrees  with this, saying, “Due to COVID, many of us are stressed.”

With such busy schedules involving academics that range from Chemistry labs to APUSH projects and extracurriculars from beach cleanups to volleyball practices, it can be difficult to find the time to sit back, relax and find real peace.

“Large amounts of homework and an uncertain learning environment lead to tons of stress,” freshman Owen Noble said.

It is much too easy to get overwhelmed by all of the obstacles from this school-year and fall down the rabbit hole of putting everything else before self-care.

“Mental self-care is often overlooked and disregarded in our busy lives, but well-being and self-care are arguably the most essential aspects of our lives at this time,” Maura said.

Many upper schoolers are well-versed in dealing with this demanding schedule and know the ins-and-outs of coping with substantial amounts of stress.

“Mental self-care is often overlooked and disregarded in our busy lives, but well-being and self-care are arguably the most essential aspects of our lives at this time.”

While it is difficult to figure out how to navigate one’s way through a busy schedule, some students are ready to share their advice.

An important part of retaining a healthy mindset is to, “Make sure you’re taking time for yourself. Even if it’s only five minutes between homework assignments or studying, remember that you’re only human and not a machine. Do things that make you happy just for the sake of doing them,” junior Olivia Davenport said.

Junior Molly Newell, says that “developing a routine each day” and using apps like “Flow and Notion” on her laptop have improved her attention span and time-management skills.

Meditation is one method of self-care that “improves the body’s ability to cope with stress and advances students’ academic achievement.

“Meditation also promotes emotional health and enhances self-awareness,” Maura said.

Anyone can take part in simple meditation practices. Some of Maura’s favorites include practicing breath work, using the app “Headspace” and setting daily intentions.

These practices are highly effective in reducing stress and anxiety, however simple they may seem.

Short breaks in between homework and studying can prove to be more beneficial than many might assume.

Rewarding oneself with little treats or a spinal stretch can improve one’s attention span and efficiency in working.

Taking time to practice self-help can seem like a waste of time during periods of stress and amidst busy schedules, but personal care is the foundation for success and the first step in creating a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Any time taken to improve mental health saves time in the later hours spent stressing.

Allowing oneself moments away from work is necessary to maintaining mental stability and pursuing success.