How Do I Cope With the Pressure?SchoolHow Do I Cope With the Pressure?<div class="ExternalClass8754D946065E4BD6A0B991F57623725A"><p>​<span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">I've been feeling really overwhelmed with everything in my life lately. There's a lot of pressure on me to do it all, know who I am and where I'm going, and I'm worried that once high school is over I will be left with no obligations and no idea what I want to do. I'm a straight A student and involved in several different extracurriculars. The world (and my family) tells me that being involved is important to my future, but my hobbies are starting to feel more like chores than fun at this point. I'm so involved in different things I don't know what I actually enjoy doing. I gave up social media, the absence of constant media consumption leaves me with the realization that I'm just empty inside. I guess I'm just tired of being me, of keeping up appearances as the person I'm expected to be. I don't want to be smart or special, I just want to be average. I'm sick of all the expectations put on me because I don't really know who I am. Not to mention I'm not very good at being who I am supposed to be. I'm just anxious, overwhelmed, and alone in the middle. </span><br></p></div><div class="ExternalClass0900F6AA088548F3844A57B4F9DA63E4"><p><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">It sounds like you have been feeling under an incredible amount of pressure to be perfect and to pack your schedule as much as humanly possible. You talk about unrealistic expectations and a desire to be average, to not feel so pressured or so busy. These feelings you are describing have become all too common, especially with people your age. You are not alone—this pressure can be exhausting and can make it harder for us to find fulfillment in the things we're doing.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">Remember that you are more than your accomplishments. You have worth that is independent of how many extracurriculars you're involved in, what grades you are getting, or how other people perceive you. You sound very self-aware and it sounds like you know that you want things to change, but feel somewhat trapped and uncertain of how to break free from the pressure. You have already taken steps toward change by giving up social media, which is certainly not an easy thing to do. Like you said, it serves as an escape, a distraction from all the stress happening in your life. Without it, you say you feel empty. It's uncomfortable giving up the things that distract us, but that discomfort allows us to confront how we're really feeling. This can be scary, but also liberating.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">Asking yourself what gives you joy, or what has given you joy in the past, can help you start to think about some ways of finding the sense of fulfillment that you feel has been missing from your life lately. Maybe it's quality time with family or friends, maybe it's a hobby or something you're passionate about. </span><a href="/Pages/Setting-Goals.aspx?Topic=Transitioning%20to%20Adulthood"><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">Goal setting</span></a><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;"> can help give us a sense of direction when we feel lost. Starting with one or two small, achievable goals can empower us to take back control of our lives when we feel so much is out of our control. </span></p><p><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">Getting support is so important when faced with such intense anxieties and uncertainties. You're doing a great thing by reaching out here, and we encourage you to continue doing so. You can continue to email us, but if you'd like to get in touch with a counselor more immediately, our hotline is open 24/7 and our text and chat services are available at the hours listed below. We also have some great tip pages on our website on combating </span><a href="/Pages/anxiety.aspx"><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">anxiety</span></a><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;"> and </span><a href="/Pages/coping-skills.aspx"><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">coping skills</span></a><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">. </span></p><p><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">Take care, stay strong, and remember you are not alone.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:tahoma;font-size:17.33px;">Annie, counselor</span><br></p></div>16

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