I mention in my About Kelly page that I love my students; and I do. Yesterday, one of my high school freshmen students broke down in tears over her grades in another class. As I spoke with her and listened to her speak, she broke my heart. This young lady was simply manifesting what so many students on our high school campus are experiencing right now, extreme stress.
Last night, I wrote my students an email in an effort to help them reframe their stress. Because it relates to mindset and grit, I thought I would share it with my readers:
It was very obvious to me yesterday and today that many of you are very stressed toward the end of our first semester. I’d like to offer a few words of wisdom that come from an entire adult life spent in one of the world’s most stressful jobs: firefighting.
- Breathe. I know that it sounds silly or simple, but when we get stressed we forget to breathe right. Take a breath through your nose, slowly, deeply, and completely, hold it briefly, and then let it out slowly, deeply, and completely. Repeat three times as often as necessary.
- Ground yourself. Become aware of touching things, smelling things, tasting things, hearing things, your own breathing. Become present where you are at, feel different items with different textures around you.
- Step away from social media and technology.
- Go for a walk if you can.
I know that each of you wants to do well in school. You put pressure on yourself, your family puts pressure on you, and our school community puts pressure on you. But realize, you are always in control over your thoughts and how you choose to respond to events. Final Exams and grades are neither good nor bad, they just are. But how you choose to think about them, the story that you create in your mind about them, is how your body will respond.
Stress is not always bad, we can turn it to our advantage and use it to get work done that is hard to do. This is called Eustress.
Your stress is real, I understand. But please don’t lose sight of the important things in life: your family, your faith, your friends, your passions and interests.
School is important, but it will not define the success in your life- YOU will define the success in your life. Yes, take your finals serious and give them your best effort, but don’t forget to breathe, smile, and embrace this moment, right here, right now.
Ultimately, you are loved no matter what. You should therefore love yourself no matter what. It is okay to offer yourself a little love and pat yourself on the back for being at the end of the semester in a very rigorous college prep high school. There’s honor in what you are doing. Stand tall.
Sending my love…
I remain hopeful that my words of wisdom will, in some small way, help my awesome students.