Stress Awareness Day - NCS grad Josh

ncs 5/11/2018
Stress Awareness Day 2018

Life can get pretty hectic, and it’s important to notice the signs that you’re feeling stressed or need to ask for help. National Stress Awareness Day is Wednesday 7th November, so we thought it’d be a great time to ask NCS grad Josh about some of the most common teen stresses. 

Undoubtedly one of the most stressful times we will experience in our lives is the transition from childhood to adulthood, from college to university, and from living at home to moving out and becoming independent. I’m experiencing a lot of these myself, so just know that you’re not alone.

One of the main stresses are A-levels, which are notoriously intense in terms of workloads. I’m particularly struggling with A-level Maths, something I never thought would happen after breezing through the subject at GCSE, which for me really puts into perspective the massive jump you take from GCSEs to A-Levels. 

One thing that I’ve had to accept is that to succeed at A-levels you have to commit to it fully – you have to commit your time most of all, but also your attention during that time. When you’re in a lesson, doing homework, or revising, it’s important to commit to that 100% in order to efficiently complete tasks, which is something I still struggle with but is definitely an important thing to consider while studying. I didn’t do this in first year anywhere near as much as I should have, so if you’re doing A-levels or just starting them then this is a massive piece of advice. If you know you’re on top of things it can bring your stress level way down!

For lots of teenagers, another immensely stressful aspect of this time is applying to university, which in many ways encompasses a moderate amount of commitment to what we actually want to do with our lives. For many, this is an easy decision that was decided long ago – for example, my brother has been pretty set on Physics for a while. For others though, including me, we haven’t yet made a commitment to a life-long job or even a three-year course. 

Now, with very little time to apply, I still haven’t decided exactly which job I want to do after university – which can be highly stressful! My best advice for anyone in this position, which I imagine I will follow myself, is to do a degree in your favourite subject, the subject that you find interesting and exciting and that you won’t get bored of studying for three years. For me, that subject would be History, but the same applies for any subject. Follow your passion and it’ll make all the hard work and stress worth it.

There are some great general ways to combat stress which I’ve found really useful. For example: exercise. Whether regular or even just every now and again, exercise is a great way to release stress and make you feel generally happier. For me, when I work out I can just not dwell on any problems for an hour or so, which can be great if you have a lot on your mind. This applies to any hobby you have, anything that you can absorb yourself in and enjoy doing to take your mind off the stress. 

Sleep is important too, as stresses seem to amplify when you’re tired, so getting a full night’s sleep can certainly help relieve physical, mental and emotional pressures, which will all contribute to you being able to handle stress better. 

Stress at this point in our lives is pretty much inevitable, so if you’re feeling stressed then just remember it’s not abnormal, and you’re not alone. I’m sure many of you reading this are at the same point in life as me, have been through this recently or are about to go through it. I wish you all the best, and remember: do your best, and be you. There’s nothing more you can do, and there’s nothing more you should have to do. And remember to look after yourself along the way. Good luck!

The NHS has a lot of helpful advice for dealing with stress over on their website, but remember to reach out for help from the people around you if you need it.