By Leo Shen, Key Club International Trustee

As I’m writing this, my deadline for my first Early Action college application is in 36 hours. I’m sure my fellow seniors and other members are feeling the same way — very, very stressed. I want to share some of my strategies for de-stressing and prioritizing mental health during this busy season.

I’m a big planner, but sometimes the routine gets overwhelming. When this happens, I take a step back. Some of my favorite break activities are taking a walk around my neighborhood or a local park, getting a late-night snack with friends and going downtown to people-watch. When it’s time to restart my work, I always feel refreshed and ready with new approaches. Being spontaneous when it comes to taking breaks is really important for my work-life balance.

With many other activities in addition to my work as trustee and leader, it’s not easy to get the hours of sleep I need, and I know many of you feel the same way. You’ve heard this a million times, but I have to say it: Sleep is the number-one factor in staying healthy and productive. When cramming for a test or catching up on late-night homework, what helps me succeed is sleeping first and then finishing work. Without rest, my mind is hazy — but with enough hours of sleep, you’ll be much more efficient and mindful when finishing any work left over from the night before.

Finally, you probably have been or will be going through some anxiety-inducing experiences during high school. For me, running for trustee was the most nerve-wracking event of 2022. But living in the moment helped alleviate my fears. By not thinking about the election results or worrying about the other competitors, I got through caucusing much easier, and it ended up being a great experience overall.

Hopefully these tips will help you through another year of leadership and service. From one student to another, remember that you’re not alone. Reach out if you need anything. You’ve got this!