BETHEL — Approximately 50% of middle school students are stressed. Here at Telsar Middle School we are trying to address this issue. The pandemic has caused all sorts of stress for everyone. We all have had to adapt to these changes and continuously changing mandates. As students, we’ve had to change our perceptions of our learning and safety.

Our health teacher, Ms. Jordan, has started a stress management project that recognizes these challenges. For this project, she helped her students create posters to hang in the hallway that share their ideas when it comes to ways to cope with stress.

Through this project, she helps students recognize their stress, then find strategies to manage it. Some strategies Ms. Jordan shared, “Reading is something that can be helpful, listening to music, having a good scream session, hanging out with family & friends, and staying off technology are also good coping mechanisms.” She also said things like breathing exercises and meditation are good tactics to help calm down.

Ms. Jordan feels that stress is an escalating problem that’s important to discuss. She states, “I started the Stress Management project because experiencing stress is something everyone has in common, but not everyone understands why it happens, what causes it, and how to handle it.”

Some advice Ms. Jordan gave was to listen to your body and learn to understand it. Ms. Jordan continued by describing different ways stress can affect our health. Some more common effects include change in productivity, sleep cycles, and mood. In more extreme cases, stress can cause strokes, diabetes, and heart attacks (later in life).

Health student Maysa Katlin, 8th grade, says some strategies she finds helpful to deal with stress include, “Listening to music, skiing, talking to friends, and drawing.”

Luke Mowery, 6th grade, also included some physical activities he uses as strategies like taking a walk, running, going outside, and working out. Luke says, “If you have strategies to help you control your emotions and thoughts, you will be more calm and a better person.”

Both Luke and Maysa agree that the coronavirus has had an impact on their stress. “Covid has been pretty stressful”, explains Luke, “Not being around people has been very tough.”

Everyone has to deal with different levels of stress. Students aren’t the only ones that can benefit from healthy coping strategies like reading, going outside, and listening to music.

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