I 100% just swiped this from my School Success book because it fit the times.

Audiobook coming soon.


Setbacks will happen. Life will do everything in its power to throw you off balance. Expect it. Anticipate it. I won’t say relish it, though some people enjoy the excitement of uncertainty. At the very least, learn from each experience. Keeping your stress levels under control will help you handle setbacks when they come. I’m going to define perseverance as the ability to endure unpleasantness with grace such that you can continue to perform your duties to a high degree. In short, it’s pushing through the bad stuff. Persistence will help you persevere and having low stress will allow you the emotional capacity to persist when necessary.

What’s Stress Got to Do with It?

Have you ever played a video game where you must sneak around without being noticed? There’s usually a bar somewhere on the screen that will measure how much attention you’re gaining. Sometimes, you need to keep still to let the bar decrease to a safe level. If that bar gets too high, you get busted. Picture your stress levels like this. It’s to your advantage to keep stress as low as possible so that when something distinctly stressful happens, you can handle the spike in level.

How do you keep your stress levels low?

This isn’t a weight loss plan. I can’t assign numbers to each type of de-stressor. Though that would be kind of fun, the truth remains that the values I would assign might differ for you based on personal preference. Best I can do is break them down into categories and let you choose your favorites. There’s always a tradeoff between the destressor and the time investment. Find something that relaxes you without adding to the burdens you already bear.

Ways to Unwind:

Exercise: Whether we’re talking organized sports or personal initiative, exercising takes a lot of time. If you like moving, this would be an appealing way to forget your troubles. I could expound on the chemical response your body has to physical activity, but it’s not my area of expertise, so the information would be no deeper than the nearest Google page. What I can say is that this one isn’t for everybody. Exercise tends to be more of a chore for me. Sure, it feels great when it’s over, but I don’t enjoy the process of getting disgustingly sweaty.

Music: Time varies, but even though each song isn’t terribly long, it’s easy to get lost in a playlist.There’s a song for everything, but not every song is conducive to relaxing or dealing with stress. Music can evoke emotions, so be careful about what you choose when trying to unwind. Filling your head with something that will get you pumped up and ready to conquer the world may or may not be the right choice for you. Same for slow and sad. Maybe mellow tunes can ground you. Classic rock might work too.

Find something that makes you feel good without being a bad influence. Would you be embarrassed to play the song in front of your whole family from your grandmother down to a little baby cousin? If it’s not suitable for small children or other innocent ears, it’s probably not great for relaxing and destressing you.  

Movies and TV Shows: Unless you have iron willpower, this one can be time-consuming, expensive, or both. Assuming you can legally access movies, this may be a way to forget your troubles by becoming immersed in a fictional character’s woes. Television shows tend to be shorter, either a half-hour, forty-two minutes, or an hour. With Netflix and Amazon and other studios that have streaming services running their own programs, that timing might differ, but TV shows are usually more manageable than movies.

Once again, your tastes might differ, but I think certain genres are better suited to relaxing. Mindless action and light comedy fit the bill better than dark, twisty psychological thrillers or horror shows. When trying to temporarily leave this world for a fictional one, it’s best if you don’t have to invest too much brainpower in figuring things out.

Books and Audiobooks: A cheaper way to experience stories involves books and audiobooks. Both have their place. Audiobooks are easier because somebody’s reading to you. This frees you to do something else like build Legos, take a walk, get some chores done, or work on a puzzle. They tend to be more expensive since production costs for that medium are higher. However, most libraries have some audiobooks on CD or available as an online resource with your library subscription. The choices might be limited, but it’s a great place to start.

With libraries and community book sales, physical books are cheap. Choices may be limited depending on the budget of your local library. Also, if you have a kindle and keep to the right Facebook groups, you can probably pick up a lot of free books. Same is true for audiobooks. Audible gives authors and narrators codes to promote their books and generate reviews. If you’re willing to review stories, you can have an endless supply of them.

The same general principles apply to books and audiobooks as with movies. Choose something lighter on the scale. There’s a time for dark and twisty tales, but lighthearted and amusing works better for forgetting the problems that plague you.

Friends: Be cautious with this one. Friends can often cause as much stress as they’re capable of relieving. I can’t tell you how to make friends, but I will encourage you to keep track of your own mental and emotional health when it comes to dealing with friends. This does not mean you abandon people just because they have heavy stuff going on in their lives, but if you come across someone whose negativity permeates the atmosphere, you might want to keep your distance. You want to surround yourself with a small group of core people who will be there for you when you need a distraction, advice, or a sympathetic ear. Commiserating with somebody who understands exactly what you’re dealing with can go a long way in keeping you sane.

Cleaning: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Cleaning and organizing can be excellent ways to handle stress. It’s productive, necessary, and potentially cathartic (emotionally releasing). It allows you to bring order to a kind of chaos you have full control over. A large part of the power behind most stressors is a lack of control over a situation. Uncertainty. Cleaning narrows the focus of the world temporarily by pitting you and your cleaning supplies against dirt and dust, something you can see and feel.

Craft, Cook, or Create: Paints, pencils, puzzles, and pans are excellent tools for relaxing. Physical puzzles are nice because, like cleaning, they illustrate order coming out of chaos. For those with the skill, painting and drawing can be immensely relaxing. Cooking or baking can also fulfill the need to create something from nothing. The key here is to spend time doing something you enjoy that has a tangible result you can be proud of.

Enjoying Nature: There may be some crossover here between enjoying nature and exercising. Cost for this one tends to be low, but that depends heavily on accessibility. Even if you live in a city, there’s usually a nearby park you can visit. You might have to work at it a little. Standing outside in the sunshine can help, but this method works best if you can immerse yourself in nature. Walking around a park or sitting by a lake or pond would be best. If you can escape to the mountains or go camping, that would certainly align with the idea of enjoying nature, but those types of trips have higher costs and take way more planning and coordination. I’m referring to more of a quick jolt of nature.   

How to Handle New Stress:

The previous section dealt more with ways to lower general, chronic life stress. It’s about building enough margin into your life so you can purposefully and effectively deal with the other stresses that pop up. In the heat of the moment, you won’t have time to dig out a how-to book and review steps. You’ll just have to react.

Assess the Situation: What you should do depends largely on what you’re facing. In most cases, seeking more information’s a good first step. Questions that may help illuminate the situation:

  • Who’s affected by the situation?
  • How directly are you impacted by the incident?
  • Is the situation a one-time thing or a long-term, pervasive problem?
  • Does the crisis revolve around you or are you just along for the ride?
  • If everything went right, what’s the best-case scenario? If everything went wrong, what’s the worst-case scenario? These two questions are good for getting a big picture perspective of what’s going on.
  • What can you do to make the situation better?

Form a Plan of Action: The ugly truth may be that you have very little control over the source of the stress. But there’s always something you can do. It might be as simple as taking better care of yourself or younger siblings so your folks can put their time and energy into dealing with the situation. Kindness can be spontaneous, but often, it must be purposeful.

If you’re the source … try to determine if there’s a fix. Is the problem related to health or behavior or both? If you’re sick, your main job should be getting better. School can wait. Do the best you can to keep up, but if it’s having a negative impact on your health, step back. If the source needs medical or psychological attention, then seek it.

If you’re not the source … try to determine if there’s a fix. Do you wield any influence over the situation? School’s important, but it’s only one aspect of your life. Family matters a great deal too.

Identify a perfect solution (whether it’s feasible or not): What would fix the problem? More money? A cure? An event never happening? No matter how ridiculous the solution may seem, knowing it can give you some peace of mind.  

Implement a small solution: You may not be able to completely fix the problem, but you can likely make it better. Identify the key players and decide how to make their lives better. The small solution might be nothing more than your presence, a hand-written note, a phone call, or a batch of homemade cookies. Don’t try to invent a new side to yourself for the situation. Work with your strengths and within your means.

Evaluate the Results: Face every situation like it was the scientific method. After you’ve identified the problem, you’ve naturally hypothesized about the source and a possible fix. Your experiment happens when you try your solution on the problem. The next logical step involves evaluating the results. Did your solution help? From there, you make a new decision about how to approach the problem, develop a new possible solution, and implement it. You might be in this phase for a while until you can draw a definitive conclusion about your plan of action.

You’re Not Alone:

Family, friends, counselors, doctors, teachers, and preachers can help. Empathy lets one understand and relate to another without having to go through the exact same ordeal. On the flip side, very few things are truly unique. No matter what you’re dealing with, somebody somewhere has been there and knows the best way to heal.

The biggest initial hurdle will likely be asking for help. Decide who you can confide in. Sharing your heart isn’t going to be easy, but it might be worth it. Understand that many adults are legally bound to take the matter to higher authorities under certain circumstances. That’s not meant to scare you. If you need help getting out of a bad situation, most adults will jump at the chance to support you.

Conclusion: Whether your problems only affect you or touch many lives, they’re likely to affect your ability to do the school thing well. Managing everyday stress will let you have the emotional energy to deal with larger issues that surface. Having a plan of action in place before a crisis pops up can help ease you through the tough stuff. Finally, know the people resources that exist around you. The courage to open up has to come from you, but there are usually a lot of people rooting for you

Audiobook Promotions:

25 of my 34 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you.
The newest aren’t yet listed on AU. Never Again (mystery, suspense) and Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi). You’d have to email me for those codes.

Spirit’s Bane (Guardian Angel Files Book 1) – fantasy
Kindred Spirits (Guardian Angel Files Book 2) – fantasy
Violence in Vegas (Eagle Eyes Book 1) – not relisted yet; mystery
Rescue in Reno (Eagle Eyes Book 2)
Danger in Dallas (Eagle Eyes Book 3)

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian.
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift.
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma.
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother.
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble.

Check out my other titles available on Audiobooks Unleashed:

Beyond Broken Pencils – contemporary, literary
Shadow Council Combo (Books 1-4) – mystery; no more US codes
The Individual titles are available but not yet listed on an ad site
SC 1: Money Makes it Deadlier
SC 2: Revenge Makes it Sweeter
SC 3: Christmas Makes it Chaos
SC 4: Treachery Makes it Tense
Short stuff:
Innova – Christian Dystopia
The Golden City Captives – short fantasy
Fatal Interest – short mystery/thriller

Eagle Eyes – mystery thriller

Scratched Off – mystery, thriller; FBI agent vs serial killer, more intense than Shadow Council/Eagle Eyes

Awakening – Redeemer Chronicles Book 1, MG fantasy
The Holy War – Redeemer Chronicles Book 2, MG fantasy
Reclaim the Darklands – Redeemer Chronicles Book 3, MG fantasy

The Collins Case – Heartfelt Cases Book 1, Christian mystery
The Kiverson Case – Heartfelt Cases Book 2, Christian mystery
The Davidson Case – Heartfelt Cases Book 3, Christian mystery

Other titles:
5 Steps to Better Blurbs – for authors
5 Steps to Better Audiobooks – for authors and narrators
5 Steps to Surviving Chemistry – for chem students

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