As we roll into the holiday season, the air in the hallways fills with anxiety, students are visibly nervous about the upcoming finals as well as excited for the well earned break. The fact that it’s November and students are already stressed about tests a month away is a warning sign.

Dripping Springs High School is immensely competitive, and students compete all semester for a place in the top ten percent. Final exams are the worst way to finish off a tough first semester.

As a junior, I am well aware of the stress that comes with being in tough classes, trying to stay healthy and happy, and balancing a social life. My day begins at 5 a.m. and ends around 11 p.m. and as Thanksgiving break flies by, I struggle to find time for myself. Recently, I discovered meditation and yoga, and this has made a huge difference in my life. I firmly believe that everyone could stand to slow down for just 15 minutes a day in order to find balance within ourselves.

These practices are often looked down upon or blown off because they are labeled as phony solutions or wastes of time. This happens more commonly with meditation. Meditation is focused on finding the stillness within your own head and pulling that into your life in order to live more peacefully. Many people see yoga as an opportunity to flaunt Lululemon clothes rather than as an outlet for the stresses of daily life and this is completely the problem. Yoga and meditation are practices that teach us how to live without materialistic views. However, these views are hard to escape in the holiday season.

As high school students, we crave social justification and acceptance even if we don’t realize it. Life as a student is all competition: who is smartest, who is prettiest, who has the best wardrobe? We make wish lists worth thousands of dollars and act as though we are entitled to receive as much. This is the mentality that damages us as a student body and in order to be more healthy and happy, we should implement these mental health practices in our everyday life.

Written by Clara Comparan