High school is supposed to be a time where teens get to have fun with little to worry about. However, teens today just feel a large amount of stress that is associated with having too many things to do. Between extracurricular activities, advanced classes, responsibilities at home and part-time jobs, teens are beginning to get burnt out. They do not want to be underprepared for their futures in college or in the workforce, so teens believe that they have to be involved in everything. Homework has been a huge component in the causes of stress in these students. Teens can get mentally worn out by stress. Stress cannot be cured, but you can reduce it. Students often have a hard time calming nerves which continues to add stress to them. Adding homework, along with not getting a good night’s rest, can add pressure and harm to students.
Kids are often on the go from the moment they wake up. While extracurricular activities can definitely be a positive way for children to become a talented musician or athlete, they can also distract them from having the joys of just being a kid. Some reasons parents put their children in activities include the desire to develop the child’s talents and help them become more experienced for adulthood. Children learn teamwork, self-discipline, and social skills, as well as how to respect authority, have fun, make friends and become leaders. However, your child can learn these skills by playing after school, as children are meant to do. Most schools have tried incorporating fun exercise into school days to help reduce some stress. Studies from Ohio University students have shown that teens who exercise report lower levels of stress. Physical education classes, weight classes, recess, and after school programs have been used to get students the suggested amount of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Although some students also have the opportunity for extracurricular activities, these can include school clubs, academic competitive teams, performing arts, language, sports, and community functions. So students involved in these activities meet before school, after school and on weekends to practice for these events. This can be quite stressful when students also have homework from 7 different classes.
Ohio University research has found that athletes have had a lower level of stress and depression, but athletics is not a cure for stress! Athletes still experience sufficient amounts of stress. When practices are paired up with homework, students can be stressed. However, not only homework causes stress. Coaches, parents, sleep schedules, and peer pressure can also add to the stress factors, say Ohio University students. Negative reactions can occur if an athlete quits a sport which can add more stress to the student. Coaches could be upset about a student quitting a sport causing confrontation and extra stress on the athlete. Parents can overwork athletes by pushing them to get into the gym, weight room, conditioning, extra practice, eating properly and getting enough sleep.
Sleep factors can add stress because a lack of sleep can affect mood, performance, and reaction time. Teens are suggested 8-10 hours of sleep, but most typically get 6-8 hours. Peer pressure can also cause stress on teens. Teens often feel the need to please everyone, copy what their friends do and be the best at everything they do. This can lead to a failure in performance and can cause a negative effect on them. Not only athletes deal with stress. One act, speech, and cheerleaders get up early and stay up late for practices and performances. Some of these performers also participate in sports and that makes it harder to find time to do homework and study for tests. All of these early mornings and late-night practices can limit time for studies. This can also put a decrease in test scores and grades. Now for juniors, this can be harmful to teens because of the ACT. ACT scores can help you get into colleges easier by getting scholarships to minimize the cost. If students are really stressed, the chances of getting a good score on the ACT decline because they will be focused on something else.
A huge cause of stress is lack of sleep. Especially for teens, the appropriate amount of sleep is crucial. Stress can cause insomnia which is persistent problems with falling asleep. A good amount of sleep can affect brain function. Not enough sleep can harm your brain similar to alcohol intoxication. If you get the right amount of sleep you can improve problem-solving and improve memory. Poor sleep routines are most likely connected to depression. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, concentration, and judgment. The leading cause of lack of sleep in teens is phones. Teens spend the most time on their phones while lying in bed. Some teens can spend hours sitting on their phone at night. Studies have found that the blue light in our cell phones and other electronics give off melatonin, which is the hormone that runs our wake/sleep cycle. This can affect your brain to make you stay awake longer. Putting your phone down before you hop in bed can increase the chances of falling asleep faster. More sleep for teens can improve their lifestyle.
Participating in extracurricular activities while stressed and sleep-deprived can make focus impaired and can affect your full potential. The national sleep foundation shows that Lance Armstrong “dares people to get six to eight hours of sleep to improve mood, performance, and concentration.” In a study SLEEP performed, they conducted that “the role of sleep in performance with results that show declines in split-second decision making following poor sleep”. If an athlete pushes themselves every day in practice, that means they will need to recover by getting plenty of sleep. Sleeping, stretching, massaging, hydrating, and eating proteins can help your body recover. If you are not getting enough recovery, you have a higher chance of getting hurt. Recovery is a crucial part of the athletic process and can be quite harmful to the future of the athlete. SLEEP also found that basketball players who get extra hours of sleep improve speed by 5% and accuracy by 9%.
Stress can add an extra burden on teens, especially when they are involved in extracurricular activities. Some stress is needed for your health, but too much can be damaging and lead to depression. Athletes and performers that are overworked and overstressed have more of a chance at developing depression. Many people experience stress but for athletes, it has shown to be extra harmful. Many athletes have a hard time handling stress and anxiety that pairs with their classes, the sports they play, and the pressures of people close to them. Teens need to relieve stress as much as they can and try to reduce the risk of it.