Mental Health Corner: Tips for a Successful Year



This drawing depicts social anxiety and worries that many high schoolers have. Drawing can be a good way to express yourself and process strong emotions.

Celia Wallis, News Editor

The start of the school year is a stressful time. Meeting new teachers, signing up for clubs, and reconnecting with friends can take a lot of energy. Having a plan to reduce stress in the upcoming year can help to prevent burnout and improve mental health. So how can you plan for success this school year?

Find a Good Support System

Research shows that people with a strong support system have 25% less stress than those without one, so how can you create a good support system for yourself at school?

One strategy is finding one or two teachers who you connect with. These teachers can provide places where you can go during CavBlock to work on homework or hang out with friends. They can also be a resource for you and help you with any questions or worries you may have.

It is also a good idea to get to know your school counselor. Not only can they help with college applications, but they can also help with scheduling concerns, extended absences, and finding mental health resources.

Having a close group of friends that you spend time with both at school and outside of school can also help you to succeed.

Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Getting enough sleep has a lot of benefits including reducing stress, thinking more clearly, and improving relationships.

Research shows that teenagers should get around 8-10 hours of sleep per night. While that may not be possible for everyone due to sports, work, and other commitments, it is important to try to get as much sleep as possible.

Limiting electronic use before going to bed can improve sleep. Ideally, people should stop using electronic devices at least half an hour before they plan to go to bed.

Setting a consistent bedtime can also help improve sleep quality. Going to bed at the same time on the weekends as you do during the week will help you to fall asleep easier.

Finding Hobbies and Mindfulness

It is a well-known fact that mindfulness can improve mental health. Journaling, drawing, writing, drawing, and meditation are all ways of practicing mindfulness. These activities can help to process emotions and stress in your life.

While not everyone enjoys journaling or meditation, any hobbies can help people to relax and improve their mood. Whether you do these activities alone or with a group, having a hobby that is meaningful to you will help your overall mental health.

Taking Breaks and Learning to Say No

Burnout happens when people take on too much work without having time for themselves to unwind. High school students are encouraged to participate in clubs, sports, work, and other out-of-school activities. While it is important to find a community through such activities, it is also important not to overwhelm yourself.

Limiting how much you commit to at the beginning of the year will help to avoid burnout later on. Learning to say no to things that take up too much time or don’t interest you is a valuable life skill that will come in handy down the road.


There is a lot of pressure on social media to eat the right things and exercise in the right ways. Many people feel ashamed if they can’t live up to these expectations. Ultimately, any form of exercise can help to improve your mental health, even if it isn’t every day or really intense workouts.

There are many simple ways to get exercise without any additional equipment, such as walking and yoga. Since these exercises are less intense, they are easier to incorporate into your day. For those struggling with mental health, it can be difficult to find the energy to exercise, but it’s worth it if you’re able to face the challenge.

Volunteering and Finding Purpose

It is often hard for teenagers to find things that give them a sense of purpose. There are many things that you can’t do until you turn 18 or finish high school. While many teens have jobs, they are often things that don’t provide a lot of fulfillment.

There are, however, ways that teenagers can get involved in their school and community. There are a lot of teachers who need help with things, and becoming a TA is a good way to help out. If you don’t have time in your schedule, you could also offer to help during CavBlock. Tutoring students during CavBlock or outside of school is also an option.

Outside of school, many community organizations like the Hollis Social Library, Hollis Women’s Club, and community sports teams hold events that need volunteers.

Reaching Out for Help

If you find yourself or a friend in a mental health crisis, there are hotlines that you can reach out to for help. You can call 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For other help, talk to a parent or trusted adult who can help you to set up an appointment with a therapist or other mental health professional.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a first step to recovery that takes a lot of courage.