A High Schooler’s Guide to Being Chill

I’ve adopted a new mantra and I highly recommend trying it out.

by Madeleine Kriech

High school is full of stress and anxiety, and many students succumb to the pressure. That person used to be me. I am currently in three AP classes, I have no off periods, and I am in numerous after school clubs and activities. Being stressed all the time is no fun, speaking from experience. One day, during spring break, I realized that I’m wasting my days in high school. Why waste my time being stressed about things that I can’t even control; like a test I finished a week ago, or a homework assignment that I left at school? To me that’s not worth it. Here’s my guide to going with the flow. It’s pretty simple if you allow yourself to just take a breath and relax.

Take a step back

Everyday we are consumed with assignments and tests and life drama. It can be a lot to take in and comprehend when it’s in your face all the time. First, I want you to make a list of everything you have to do, and I mean everything–inside of school or out. It can be something as big as a test, or something as simple as doing the laundry, but no matter what it is, you need to write it down. Then I want you to order them by due date. If the test is on Friday and it’s a Monday, you can put that lower on your agenda, but if you have no clean underwear, you should do laundry that second. Which leads me to the second step…

Don’t procrastinate

Procrastination is one of the easiest ways to add stress to your life. If you have something on your agenda that takes three minutes, put down your phone, turn off the tv, and do it. I had to learn this the hard way. I was going to New York for college visits and I kept putting off registering for the tours. Then, when I finally got around to it, the tours were full. You could say that I had a break down, but it made me realize that enough is enough– I’m done putting things off until the last minute. If your agenda has small little activities that take less than an hour I want you to get them done right when you think of them. Utilize every minute of your day. That doesn’t mean frantically running around like a crazy person trying to get things done. It means don’t waste four hours on your phone or watching Netflix.


Speaking of utilizing all of your time, some of your time needs to be spent on yourself. I recommend finding an activity that you really enjoy, like playing with your dog, reading a book, or painting, and doing this in your free time. With the busy life teenagers lead, we need some time to ourselves. Also, take the time to finish things that you’ve put on the back burner for a long time. My example would be that I had four broken necklaces that needed to fixed forever, and I finally stopped putting it off and did it. It was relaxing to have finally finished a task that I had been dreading.

Forgive yourself

Although you have an agenda, that doesn’t always mean you’ll stick to it. Life is unpredictable, and things pop up all the time. Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends instead of doing a 10 point, formative assignment– that’s okay. Don’t strain yourself to be perfect. Maybe you forgot to finish a worksheet for homework, don’t spend the rest of the day feeling stressed out about it. What’s done is done. You can’t go back to last night. Just forgive yourself and carry on with your life.

Be happy

I know this sounds stupid and cliche, but I’m serious. Laugh more, smile more, be with people who make you happy. This small change can make a big difference. Don’t let friend drama tear apart your spirit. Friends are supposed to make you feel good; if they don’t, they aren’t a true friend. High school flies by and you need to spend time with people who you enjoy. As I’m coming to the end of my junior year, I keep thinking about all my senior friends going to college, which made me realize that I wanted to spend more time with them before they leave. Also, the fact that I’ll be in their shoes next year scared me; I want to make the most of high school, and now the end is coming closer and faster. Just being happy will soothe your mind and de-stress your soul.

The “chill” montra I have embodied has truly changed my life. In a short period of time I have become a go-with-the-flow human rather than a high-strung, tightly-wound robot. I am getting more out of each day and starting to truly feel comfortable in my own skin. Being chill is different for everyone. It might take longer for some of you to totally embrace this concept. Some of you probably think you might not ever be able to embrace this concept because you are too high strung, but trust me, you really need to let go. Stress is not worth it– high school stress is definitely not worth it. Yes, there is college and tests and teachers, but none of that is worth a stressed and frantic life. Be calm and live on.

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