Wellness week: The antidote for test anxiety


Maisie McArter, Writer

Test anxiety is something that many students have or will experience in their lifetime. To help ease this stress, students participated in wellness week in April, which showcased many different skills and strategies to help reduce stress and anxiety, especially leading up to SOL tests and final exams.

Kaylin Rossi, eighth-grader on the Dolphins Team, says, “It’s important to be relaxed because it makes it easier to study and when you take the test you can remember things better and more clearly.”

Wellness week happened on April 5 – April 29, where students could participate in many activities that benefit their mental health and wellness. These activities included motivational Monday, together Tuesday, workout Wednesday, thankful Thursday and fun Friday. 

During Motivational Monday, students could choose a motivational quote at lunch. Carson Student Central says that Together Tuesday was a day where students could “wear bright colors” and “share some fun jokes at the cafeteria.” For workout Wednesday and Fun Friday, students went in the courtyard and did exercises and danced with their friends. Thankful Thursday was when students shared what they are thankful for. 

Learning about what causes stress and anxiety is very important when trying to alleviate your own stress. According to Teen Health, test anxiety happens when waiting for, or knowing something stressful is about to happen. Teen Health says that this causes your body to release “the hormone adrenaline, which prepares it for danger.” This can make you feel nervous and even affect your test performance, by having the nervousness distract you.

Thanwa Dahab, eighth-grader on the Dolphins Team, shares a stress-coping strategy: “I play with a stress ball,” she said. 

Even though tests can be stressful, there are some things you can do to help ease your stress. Mayo Clinic advises people to “learn how to study efficiently, study early and in similar places, establish a consistent pretest routine, talk to your teacher, learn relaxation techniques, don’t forget to eat and drink, get some exercise, get plenty of sleep, don’t ignore a learning disability, and see a professional counselor, if necessary.” 

Mr. Kenneth Kim, counselor for Champions, Dolphins and Trailblazers Teams, feels that healthy levels of anxiety are OK.

“There is such a thing as a healthy level of anxiety,” he said in an email. “It generally pushes us to do things (ie. If we got chores to do, the fear of our parents getting angry at us moves us to do our chores). However, if we are constantly anxious, we can’t perform to our best ability. Being in that continuous fight or flight mode actually hurts us so we need to find ways to ease it.”

This test stress and anxious feelings that students experience is what sparked the Student Services department to create Wellness Week, which was a week of activities to help students de-stress.

Mr. Kim said, “We chose to do Wellness Week because we know how stressful it can be. There’s the whole ‘surviving middle school’ thing with friends and the SOL tests around the corner. So we wanted to provide ways to destress.”

As for Wellness Week for future panthers, Mr. Kim said, “We took a lot of feedback and want to continue to build upon the program so we have already started talking about ways to continue doing Wellness Week.”