Dear Helpful Hawk,
As you probably know, school is back in session! While I am really excited to get back to my activities and catch up with friends, I’m also really worried. Last year, I sometimes had some really awful panic attacks. I’d have mountains of work to do after procrastinating on homework, because I was so stressed out from the school day and extra-curricular activities! This led to me staying up ridiculously late, and eventually leading me to tears. I would cry until I’d found I’d woken up my entire family, and had to be calmed down. Logically, I knew that my problem wasn’t impossible to deal with, but I couldn’t keep myself from the outbursts. When summer hit, I was extremely grateful, because I would finally have the opportunity to relax, and I found that my panic attacks had stopped! Now that school is back, I am worried that my hysterics will return! I can be an extremely anxious person, and don’t know how I can learn to take a step back. I know that avoiding procrastination should help, but what else can I do in these extremely stressful situations to keep me from going berserk?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80 percent of people, ‘frequently or sometimes experience daily stress’ (ADAA). Since school is starting back up, all of us will have much more work to manage. Dr. Pucci, Hawken’s new upper school psychologist, says that a good way to manage work is by using a visual representation. For example, a student could use post-it notes on a bulletin board to represent each assignment, breaking down what they need to do into more simple, achievable goals. Then, when the post-it notes are taken down, you can see just how much you’ve accomplished. Another thing Dr. Pucci suggested was setting time to do what you love. She says that even just fifteen minutes of an enjoyable hobby or activity can help relieve stress and anxiety. You could spend your time on anything you love— from reading, to drawing, to going on walks or playing games. This scheduled time gives you something to look forward to each day, and even helps you to work more efficiently. I really hope that you and every other stressed student here at Hawken can utilize these tools to have a better time with all of Hawken’s rigorous work. Good luck!
For more advice or personal help, contact
Nicole Pucci, PhD
Hawken Upper School Psychologist
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