Office of the Superintendent
Stress is a part of the human condition. A certain amount of stress is necessary and even healthy in moderation. It motivates us to finish an important project, get that extra adrenaline kick on the athletic field, or gain satisfaction from overcoming a difficult challenge. While there is such a thing as “good stress,” what we’re seeing all too often today in our students’, families’, and staff’s lives is chronic stress--that which is constant and persists over an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, American society tends to reward being over-stressed and it’s become a badge of honor to declare, “I had a 14 hour work day today”, or “I pulled an all-nighter to get that assignment done”. Students frequently hear the adults in their lives and their peers boast about not getting enough sleep, stressing out over their workload, and working through (or not even taking) their vacations. It’s almost as if making time for yourself and enjoying life are frowned upon.
Long-term stress has a negative impact on the body and mind. Some indicators of chronic stress are:
• Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
• Constant worry
• Get sick more often with colds
• Trouble falling sleeping or staying awake
• Changes in appetite
• Feeling angry or anxious
Part of educating our young people in FUSD includes helping them understand the effects of stress and how to manage their mental health and well-being. Pressures will always be there; especially for high school students vying for college acceptances and launching out into the workforce. But if they don’t learn how to manage their mental and physical health at this age, it becomes that much harder to break those habits when they are older.
Fortunately, there are some simple techniques that can help:
• Watch out for signs of stress overload
• Know your stress trigger
• Spend time with people who make you happy
• Manage your time well
• Be realistic
• Don’t self-medicate
• Reach out
That last one is the most important--know that you are not alone and that others are here to help. Be well.
Kim Wallace, Ed.D
Fremont Unified School District