Many of today’s students across elementary, middle and high schools, have reasons to feel stressed. There’s the school work, itself, with the pressure to get good grades. But they don’t have jitters about only their performance in the classroom. Social aspects of school like looking right, fitting in, and maintaining friendships are high stressors. Students also worry about excelling in extra-curricular activities like sports, as well as achieving the right appearance on social media. Add in the unique challenges of the pandemic, including an overriding sense of fear and concern, and it is no surprise that their mental health is a concern!
We have been sensing the stress felt by our kids in school and Research.com confirmed our observations in a study focused on grades K-12. They report that:
- 70% of teens in the U.S. named anxiety or depression as a major problem among their peers
- 75% of U.S. high school students expressed boredom, anger, sadness, fear, or stress while in school
- On a scale of 0-10, the average stress rate among American teens was 5.8, the average for adults was 3.8
- 75% of American high schoolers and 50% of middle schoolers described themselves as “often or always feeling stressed” by schoolwork
The good news is that during the last year-and-a-half of quarantining and social distancing, many of us, kids included, tapped into new ways to reduce stress. We had the time (and often the boredom) needed to spur creativity and adopt stress-relieving hobbies.
Bits and Pieces surveyed over 1,000 people and found that Generation Z’ers spent an average of 8 hours per week on stress relieving activities pre-COVID, and now spend over 11 hours/week on these activities. You may think yoga or meditation when you hear ‘stress-relief,’ but this term encompasses any activities that aid mental well being. The most popular stress relieving hobbies identified in the study are doing puzzles, playing games, and being active.
Let’s take a positive note from the past year of COVID and work to better manage our stress as we return to the hustle of in-person school and work. Encourage your kids to also prioritize self care and employ more stress-reducing activities in their day to day schedule.