Sorting it all out: take a break

I’ve been busy lately. This is nothing new: I’m in advanced classes at school, on the alpine ski team and involved in just about everything I can be without driving myself crazy.

Still, sometimes it seems like a bit much to do everything at once while keeping up with homework and trying to have a social life. I get overwhelmed sometimes by how busy I am and how much I have to do, and I’ve developed several coping mechanisms for when this happens.

My immediate answer is music. I’m in choral at school, and for me it’s a time to relax and enjoy myself. Singing takes a lot of work, certainly, but it’s also calming and gives me a break from trying to do math or write essays. Choral is easily my favorite class of my day.

When I’m not at school, music allows me an outlet as well. Driving in the car, I love turning my music up loud and singing along. I can focus on driving and the song and forget about everything else. While I’m doing homework or something similar, I often listen to music, too. Music is just overall a good way to relax and feel less stressed or upset.

I’m really not a fan of coffee, but I love tea. If I need a break from something, making a cup of tea helps me get away from whatever I’m doing, and the aromatherapy gives me better focus. Taking a moment to step back from my homework often makes it seem a lot easier when I look at it again.

Sometimes taking a minute away from homework is not by my choice. My cat likes to come sit on my homework and bite my pencil if she isn’t getting enough attention. She either wants to be pet or played with, and I usually oblige her for a little while. If I didn’t, she might decide to chew on the homework instead of my pencil, and I don’t think any of my teachers would believe “my cat ate my homework.” My kitty helps me take a mental break, and having a fuzzy cat purring in your arms is guaranteed to improve nearly anyone’s mood.

After a busy week, making social plans probably seems overwhelming rather than relaxing, but actually hanging out with my friends calms me down and lets me forget all about stress. Whether we just sit around and talk or go out somewhere fun, I feel like I can be myself and not worry about anything for a while.

When I’m really upset, telling someone about it automatically makes me feel way better. I can talk to my friends or my family and they usually understand me pretty well.

When all else fails, taking a hot bath or shower and getting some sleep will fix almost anything. Impossible math problems or contradicting feelings somehow sort themselves out overnight, and are quite conquerable in the morning.

Being busy, or just having a lot to think about in life, can be stressful and feel overwhelming. If you find a way to relax and solve your problems you can overcome whatever you need to. Regardless of what your troubles are, there is a way to figure them out; it just might require taking a break from thinking about it or getting someone to help you.

Editor’s note: Maggie Guter, 16, is a junior at Marquette Senior High School. She is a long time member of 8-18 Media and is also involved in sailing, skiing and piano. Her parents are Jake Guter and Mary Doll of Marquette. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 906-226-7874, or email at