How to Keep Moving When Things Get Overwhelming

By Noah Schuessler – Student Author

As a teenager living an ever-so-fast-paced life, I know that managing both my free time and my busy time will keep me at bay. Playing volleyball year-round, dealing with school, trying to earn money, and figuring out where I am going to play volleyball in college are the biggest challenges that I face daily. Believe me, it has been a struggle at times, but I have been able to work through these things to make sure that my plate is balanced and that I can function day-to-day without the constant stress of outside pressures. Many of us face pressures in our lives. Here’s how I work to manage mine.


How to Manage Your Time

To start, the absolute biggest advice I give to anyone is that when it all becomes too much, and your emotions start taking over, just stop. More often than not, those around you will be understanding of what you are dealing with. It is crucial to remember that if your stresses begin to take a physical and emotional toll on you, then absolutely take a break. 

Another major thing that I believe helps me accomplish things is by making small lists for each night of what I need to do each day. For instance, when faced with the tasks of studying for a math test, writing an English paper, and tackling challenging science homework, I like to break down each assignment into manageable steps. Breaking it down into small steps can keep it from being overwhelming.


How I Breakdown a Busy Schedule

So, an example of what that night would look like for me is:

  • I would start with the most challenging – science homework, then I would take a break and go eat dinner. 
  • Next up, I study for the math test; once that is finished, I would go and shower –  another small break. 
  • Lastly, I would write as much as I could for the English paper until I got tired or noticed that my quality of writing was suffering. That’s a signal to myself that it is time to go to bed.  Watch for the signs your body gives you that you’re doing too much and it’s time to relax or slow down, 
  • Then, I would finish up the work in the morning – either before I left for school or try to get to school early and finish it up there. 


All of these tactics have worked wonders for me, and I believe that there is a certain trick that “fools my brain” into thinking that I really don’t have a lot to do. Yet, when I think about it, I actually accomplished a ton, considering I had volleyball practice earlier in the afternoon, which was also right after the busy school day. So, do I really ever get a break? Sometimes, my method of breaking things up into more doable “chunks” has been the biggest lifesaver. 

For all the other seasons except spring, I am usually doing a lot of traveling for out-of-town tournaments. Going on trips in the middle of the school year during the end of fall and the beginning of winter is something that many athletes are accustomed to, yet many of us don’t like it. It’s that time of the year when missing a class means missing a homework assignment as well as pages of notes, and more likely than not, there is a test or essay that will randomly pop up. Being away from home when I see all of these things piling up gets to be very stressful. However, I approach this in a very specific way –  accomplish as much as I can before I leave and finish the rest when I get home. 

Based on my own experience, spending a weekend in Detroit for volleyball in December is way cooler when I’m not all hung up on school stuff. I believe that schoolwork adds unnecessary stress, and it can be accomplished at a different time. Does that mean that I might mess up my sleep schedule for a few nights to get work done? Maybe. But if you plan ahead and rock some solid time management, you can dodge that bullet.


How to Customize Your Approach to Time Management

At the end of the day, everyone tackles their hectic schedules in their own unique way. As a busy teenager, I found success hinges on mastering the art of “tricking your own brain” and navigating through tasks with effective time management. 

I hope that my personal methods can be useful to others because I truly believe that it is possible to maintain a healthy emotional state despite pressures being stacked up on your plate. Remember, it’s always important to stay strong during challenging times and know that life won’t always be this busy or stressful.


How to Keep Improving

Time management is a life-long skill to build on. Taking breaks, managing time, and setting small goals along the way can all help build that skill.  This is true for an unplanned pregnancy as well. At first, it can seem overwhelming, but with time, compassionate support, and learning to set small goals – you will thrive. Birthright St. Charles is that compassionate support for those facing unexpected pregnancies, assisting you in setting goals and navigating challenges, all while emphasizing the importance of prioritizing self-care. You’re not alone – You can do it – We’re with you – one step at a time.



Teen To Teen is a series of blogs written by teen authors for teens on topics that matter most to them. Please Note: “Teen to Teen” should be considered peer-to-peer advice and support. It is not given in place of professional consult or care.

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