Manage your stress and find ways to add balance your life


Sarae Miguel

Time management is a key factor in handling stress. Illustration by Sarae Miguel

Charlize Guadiello, Staff Writer

We’ve all been there. The night before a project that’s worth 30 percent of your grade is due, you’ve done maybe 25 percent of the actual project itself, and you’re in the a.m. hours. You want to get it done, but the idea of even opening your iPad or a notebook makes you want to fall to the floor and sob.

When you’re stressed, the path to getting not stressed is rocky. It’s difficult to be honest with teachers because of how they may react, there’s so much you’re stressed about you don’t even know where to start, and it’s sometimes more tiring to even think about getting help.

Freshman Jonah Gillia said stress has made him feel exhausted in the past.

“You feel mentally exhausted. . . sometimes you get headaches and sometimes you feel just phased out,” Gilia said.

Due to the pandemic, finding guidance has proven to be more difficult than before. It’s been especially hard for students who decided to stay virtual. Now that most students are in person again, students at home aren’t included as much.

Yu Hua Rachel Huang is a senior who decided to stay virtual. She has experienced the disconnect of not being in person with her friends.

One thing you have to understand is that teachers are not there to help you fail. As much as it seems like they don’t and it seems like they’re trying to not build your ladder, they’re trying to give you the pieces to help you do it yourself.”

— Rachel Huang, senior

“There were a lot of people who were virtual and everyone had the same stress levels, so everyone had the same idea of virtual learning,” said Huang.

Adjusting to the office hours rules as a freshman was definitely a wake up call. As we know now, when your grade is below 73 percent, you have to go to mandatory office hours. To think if you let yourself slip even a little and you’ll be forced to go to office hours is frightening.

Though, some students use office hours as a way to make up for lost time. Office hours can be an after school study hall of sorts. But even though there is that extra time, it’s still hard for virtual students to get the help they need because they can’t go straight to the teacher and ask questions.

Jerome Asuncion II is a school counselor for Hawaii Center for Children and Families. HCCF is an organization that lends a hand to students who aren’t receiving all the help they need. They support students academically, socially and emotionally and they offer skills for students to use inside and outside of school.

“It’s really hard if they go in and there are five people that are asking questions first and by the time office hours ends, sometimes they aren’t able to get the help they need,” said Asuncion.

Asuncion said there have been more students since the pandemic.

“We have seen an increase in students coming in both virtually and in-person because of all the stressors ever since the pandemic started. Because of a lot of things that are going on: the fear of the unknown, worrying, anxiety, stress,” said Asuncion.

Especially because of COVID, school can start to feel more like a chore than anything. A statistic from shows that 51 percent of gen-z teens feel the pandemic makes it seem impossible to plan for their future. Everything is such a headache with all the new rules and precautions. But this is our new normal. You have to try to make the best of a bad situation.

Seniors in high school have it worse than the average student because it’s such a monumental moment in their life. Some are deciding which college they want to go to, some might be moving away, they’re deciding career options- you get the jist: it’s draining.

Seniors are an extra special case because it’s the first year that will be fully COVID. And having college applications on top of it all is a lot.

“All those people who did do a gap year are now applying with this class. They definitely had it easier. They were online, they had a better senior year, they had all these things to help them,” said Huang.

One thing Huang has found especially helpful during these times is taking that first step in reaching out to talk to her teachers.

“One thing you have to understand is that teachers are not there to help you fail. As much as it seems like they don’t and it seems like they’re trying to not build your ladder, they’re trying to give you the pieces to help you do it yourself,” said Huang.

Ways to help

Reach! Out! This goes for everyone. If you find yourself struggling and you want to change that, talk to your teachers. Ask if there’s a time you can come in for help. I know it’s hard to be fully transparent with (and really feel seen by) your teacher, but try to find a balance that leaves both parties with an understanding of the situation.

Using a planner is especially helpful, even if you don’t deal with a lot of stress. If you write down when you have an assignment due or an activity planned, it’s a great way to give yourself structure.

“It’s finding that balance. Making sure that on those days when there isn’t a lot of activities, you’re taking care of yourself, you make sure you get the work done you need to,” Asuncion said.

Plan your day out. There are apps on your phone or personal device you can install to help you manage your time. Freshman Jonah Gillia uses Goals Wizard on his iPhone.

“If I have math homework, I put this on my activities list for how long it will take me to do the homework and I put it in my schedule accordingly,” said Gillia.

You don’t always have to be doing something productive. Remember you should give yourself some time every day to do something you love. Doing something you enjoy even for a little bit can help you relax in spite of what else is going on. Set time in your schedule for yourself.

“It’s really important to take care of yourself and balance things out. It’s like going to a party: you try all the food at the buffet line, chances are your plate’s going to be really full and it’s going to be really hard,” said Asuncion.

It seems like such a simple answer, but managing your time is really one of the best options. You’re giving yourself structure by managing your time and doing this gives you something to lean back on. I speak from personal experience when I say that the weeks I’ve taken to manage my time have been much less stressful than the weeks I neglected to do so.