Strategies to Navigate December: For High Schoolers

Returning from Thanksgiving break often sparks feelings of stress and anxiety in high schoolers. With projects and finals looming around the corner, I see students come in in states of panic and dread about the upcoming weeks. Here are some strategies I use to help the students I counsel; if your student needs help over the next few weeks, send me an email.

Use a paper planner. Writing things down. This helps to retain information and commit information to your brain. It also helps kids slow down and think about what they have to do. This is often a struggle with my clients who like to use their phones but there isn’t one place to manage everything on your phone and I firmly believe in writing in an old-fashioned paper planner.
Set goals. Where are you now? Where do you want to go? Research has shown that setting small incremental goals helps accomplish larger goals. “The seeds of greatness are planted in the daily grind.” What are you trying to accomplish today/this week/over the next two weeks? When students see that they are successful with smaller goals, it helps them stay on track and continue to push forward to achieve larger goals.
Engage teachers. Is your student behind on work, or feeling overwhelmed by upcoming tests/projects? Encourage them to go to collaborative hours, or after school tutoring on campus. Teachers want to help. Go see them!
Get Sleep. I can’t stress how important sleep is, and my clients are so tired of me asking this question, which I do each time I see them. Sleep provides energy to both the brain and body. If is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to repair memory, consolidate memory, and release hormones. I know many athletic coaches stress the importance of sleep before a big game, competition or race. Finals are no different. Sleep can have as much, if not more of an impact on performance.

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