November 5, 2016 I DON’T KNOW HOW TO RELAX!!!!!!! Hey Brandon, help me out! You could say that I’m a dork, but I’m really more of a nerd. AND A NERD’S LIFE AIN’T EASY. I’ve been tutoring, studying, doing debate club, science club, chess club, and the list goes on. It’s basically KILLING ME!! Why can’t life be as easy as 25 x 37? How do I relax and be smart at the same time? HELP!!!!! The Overworking Nerd Wow, you sound stressed out. I don’t know if there’s a difference between a nerd and dork. But I DO know that dorks are awesome. I think nerds are too! And you can TOTALLY be a nerd who has fun!! Here’s my question: Where’s the pressure coming from? Are you working so hard because your parents demand good grades? Or is it coming from you? If it’s coming from you, here’s what you’ve got to remember: You’re not going to stop being smart if you relax a little. In fact, maybe you’ll get smarter (but that’s not why you should do it). Brains need time to process all the information they receive. Taking time to hang out with friends/go for a run/play with a dog/watch a movie can actually help your brain work stuff out that it doesn’t have time to do if you’re ALWAYS studying. If the pressure is coming from your parents, then you need to have a talk with them. Explain how you’re feeling. Let them know how much you still value your studies and everything, but that you also feel like you need to find ways to relax. You could ask them to point out when you’re pushing too hard. They may have ideas for how you could relax. If you have ideas, suggest some things. If you don’t have ideas, here are some to get you started: Physical activity: You probably don’t have time for a team sport, but you could start jogging (or biking, swimming, skateboarding, yoga, etc.). Computer/video games: Minecraft or whatever can be a great way to unwind and have some fun. Time with friends: I assume you have friends. But they’re probably really good students who study all the time, too. I bet they could use some help relaxing! Maybe you could have a once a month sleepover, and a once a week video chat hang out. And, the rule has to be NO TALK ABOUT SCHOOL. Watching TV/ listening to music/reading NON-SCHOOL books: It’s really okay to do these things. And I’m not talking about documentaries, classic books, or Mozart. Binge watch shows that don’t require you to think at all. Read FUN books that you can’t put down. Listen to whatever you really enjoy!! Your brain will thank you! Hang with fuzzy friends: Okay, I’m a little biased on this one, since my grandparents run an animal shelter. But animals are SO great for de-stressing. If you’ve got a dog, walk it every day! If you’ve got a cat, play with it. If you don’t have your own animals, see if an elderly neighbor has a dog that needs walking. Or, see if your local animal shelter could use volunteers. Obviously it shouldn’t become one more thing you HAVE to do, but if you let them, animals can be pretty great stress relievers. I hope those ideas help you figure out how to de-stress. I bet the readers can give you more ideas in the comments! How do you guys relax?