Setting goals and striving to become the best you can be is by no means a bad thing, especially in high school. However, being the best often comes with responsibilities like filling your schedule with advanced classes (going beyond a 4.0 GPA), taking on extracurriculars or volunteer opportunities in your community, and still trying to find time to carve out for homework and other essential tasks. Unsurprisingly, this can be overwhelming for many high school students. If you’re an overachiever in high school, here’s how to care for your mental health and make your journey less stressful.

Enlist the help of a professional if things are too overwhelming.

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For some teens, life may just be a little too stressful at the moment. For others, this stress has developed into a serious mental health disorder like depression or anxiety. The latter may find it extremely difficult to focus on their schoolwork or provide themselves with the level of care that they need. If you feel as though your stress has developed into something less manageable and more detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing, ask your parents (do a quick Google search for “therapist near me“) or your school counselor to get you in touch with a local therapist. Therapy and teletherapy are designed to help you learn more about what you’re dealing with, come up with a treatment plan and learn coping mechanisms that will support you moving forward, and treat your symptoms over the long term.

Alongside therapy, put a greater focus on your own self-care. Overachievers tend to not only miss out on destressing on a daily basis but also forget to do basic things like getting enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise. When you care for yourself and set boundaries, it’s much easier to find time to relax and keep yourself in peak physical and mental health.

Get excited about your future and set goals.

Some say that passion is the gas that fuels our drive. When we become overwhelmed by our work and start to lose the mindset that has allowed us to achieve so much, we may lose our passion forget exactly what our end goal is. One way to stay the course and feel more excited and less stressed is to set goals for our future. For example, if you have a specific set of colleges you wish to apply for, setting milestones for your GPA, your SATs or ACTs, and application deadlines will give you something measurable to work towards. This keeps you on track and makes your work more manageable. Additionally, you always have that goal in your sights to get you excited and remind you why you’re working so hard.

You should also consider looking for external resources like the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) that are designed to help you access your full potential. Whether you’re looking for internships, volunteer opportunities, or guidance as you manage the transition from high school to college, they’re there to offer you the guidance you need throughout your educational endeavors. You can learn more about them by reading an NSHSS review or two.

Carve out time in your schedule for fun activities.

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The most important thing to remember in high school is that you’re still a kid! Life shouldn’t be so stressful that your mental health is compromised or that you don’t have time for the things you want to do. Set aside some time to come up with a list of fun activities that you can start making time for in your schedule. You will thank yourself later for creating these precious memories with friends and taking a break from your workload.

Achieving great things in high school is important for those who want to get into a great college. However, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your mental health. If you’ve found yourself struggling with your coursework and packed schedule, use the tips above to decompress and get the support you need.

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