Many students are prone to experience stress and suffer the consequences of stress at school. They may show signs of being more aggressive or withdrawn, engage in increased attention seeking behaviour, become more tearful or perhaps show signs of eating disorders. They may be reluctant to seek help or confide in anyone to manage what can be overwhelming or frightening symptoms. It is important to help students recognise that they are not alone in needing to manage stress, and that stress is a part of everyday experience. Some of the common stressors that students experience in the 21st century include:
- stress about personal image and identity
- peer group stress
- family expectations stress
- relationship stress
- exam stress
- uncertainty about the future stress
- stress about transition from school to tertiary education or work
Teachers and parents can assist students by Online IB tutoring helping them to understand the nature and causes of stress and that whilst it is common to many, the way each person responds is unique. Students who have good self-esteem and self-concept generally cope better with stressors, then those lacking in self-esteem. Assisting students to recognise their own strengths and demonstration coping abilities, enables them to build on their current assets to deal with future challenges. Stress management programs for students often deal in building self-esteem, cooperation and empathy, to assist students to be supportive to each other.
Students also will benefit from developing a healthy lifestyle in order to manage stress. This will include things like the importance of getting adequate sleep in a restful environment, eating a healthy and nourishing diet, having sufficient exercise, avoidance of alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs and the opportunity for some time out to relax. In addition it can be very helpful for students to learn specific relaxation strategies, such as progressive muscular relaxation. Students in the later years of school who are facing important exams will need a greater level of emotional support and the opportunity to talk through their concerns. In addition, skills in organising work and time management can be vital for students to manage the competing demands of school, social life and possibly part-time work.
It is not necessarily helpful to expect students to give up their social lives. An opportunity to relax and enjoy social contact can be very important in coping effectively with stress. Finally, it is vital that students understand reactions and behaviours which both increase or reduce stress, and that they take responsibility for their own part in those behaviours and reactions. Students are not passive victims of stress, but in fact can choose to behave and think in ways that either enhance or hamper their stress management capacities. Teachers and parents who can be supportive in educating students to make good choices and learn to understand their responses to stress, will assist students to more effectively manage stress.