Submitted by Ashlyn Simonson, VP of Public Relations
Do you ever feel like everything is moving really fast, and you can’t keep up? I definitely feel that way sometimes. Our members in FCCLA are busy kids, and we are involved in a lot! Everything is so busy all the time, and it can be exhausting. Don’t tell your track coaches, but I have some advice to help you slow down, so that you are jogging instead of sprinting.
One of the things that can make you feel overwhelmed is having so much homework and things to do that you feel like you can’t remember everything that has to get done. One way to help with this is to use a planner. Planners have several ways to help you organize everything, with month-to-month calendars and day-to-day pages. Unfortunately, planners only work if you actually look at them regularly, which is something I apparently can’t do! Because of this, I write a to do list on a sticky note at least once a week and stick it to the inside of my computer. This way, I can always see it, and I can add new homework and deadlines to it as soon as I hear about them. There is also something just so satisfying about crossing everything off and throwing it away! Another way to keep organized to to have a big calendar that you write everything on. If your school has a website with dates on it, you can literally fill out every relevant date they have through the end of the school year. This is a lifesaver for my family. The last way is to keep good communication with your teachers, so you don’t miss that twelve page paper that your teacher assigned while you were at district STAR.
It doesn’t matter how organized you are if you are too overwhelmed to work on anything anyway. You have to keep your stress under control so you can breathe. Staying organized and having all of your due dates lined out is a great way to manage your stress. Something else you can do is remember not to worry too far ahead. I’ve had to tell myself multiple times that I can’t worry about the Sociology paper I have due April 18th yet. If you focus on the closest due dates, then you won’t have to worry about getting behind. So even though you’re still being productive, it’s not super helpful to avoid tomorrow’s homework by doing next week’s. A really good way to manage your stress is to set limits for yourself in terms of screen time. Before you get defensive and close this tab, I’m not saying not to be on your phone. I’m just suggesting that maybe not watching Tiktok until 11 at night might help with how long the school days feel. Be on your phone to unwind and de-stress, just reflect and make sure that none of the things you are doing are making you feel more overwhelmed. I found that setting limits for myself for Tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Hay Day (don’t judge!) really helped me go to bed earlier and not lose big chunks of time scrolling through my fyp. Also, make time to do the things you enjoy, but don’t make it feel like a chore. For instance, I love playing my instruments, so I set aside some time for it! It was awesome, but having a specific time on specific days really made it feel like more homework to me. So now, I just pick up my instruments when I feel like it, and it’s much better.
Feeling Like a Kid
No matter what you feel like sometimes, we are still kids! Sometimes we feel like we have so much responsibility that we have to act like adults, but we don’t have to. It’s totally okay to do things because you enjoy it (within ethics and the law. Please don’t get me in trouble.). So if you want to end your long days with a bowl of ice cream and an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender (a heartfelt show for all ages, I swear!), that do it! If you want to take a break from homework and hang out with your friends for a night, do it! No matter how many extracurriculars your resume is padded with, and how many As you get in class, you have the right to enjoy high school! The other day, I really struggled with whether I should stay home and practice my speeches, or accept my friends’ invitation to go watch a conference basketball game in another town. Even my coach and parents told me to take a break, let myself off the hook, and go have fun! So, I set my computer aside, and went, and I had an amazing time. And I still found time to work on my speeches later. This also comes with setting boundaries for yourself. If you think that someone is putting too much pressure or responsibility on you, let them know! The adults in our lives aren’t perfect, but if you remind them that you can’t do everything all the time, they are usually completely understanding. It isn’t weak to ask for help or need a break. It’s a part of being human, and it’s a part of being a kid. And even though FCCLA wants you to Aspire to Inspire, we still want you to have the Ultimate Leadership Experience, which you can’t do if you are running too fast to enjoy it.