Counselor Butler offers advice during Stress Awareness Month


Ellie Moncrief, Evie Driskill, Abby McElheny, Ada McElroy, Madeleine Ann Brockwell enjoying the Relaxation Station before exams.

Josie Robertson, Photo Editor

Before students can fall into the relaxation of summer downtime, the end of the school year presents some stressful hurdles. College decisions, mapping out summer jobs and end-of-year exams pile on the anxiety in that final stretch of April and May. 

April has been deemed Stress Awareness Month by the Stress Management Society since 1992 with the goal of raising awareness of the causes of and helpful actions to combat the “modern-day stress- epidemic.” Homewood High School student counselor Zach Butler emphasizes the importance of acknowledging stressful struggles.

“I think that communicating those struggles that you have to somebody that you trust, whether it’s a counselor or a parent, is really important,” Butler said. “A lot of the stress gets built up in your head, and you need an outlet to get it out.” 

Many anxious students Butler works with practice intentional breathing, journaling or squeezing a stress ball to calm their minds. 

Butler emphasizes the practice of speaking about one’s stress and anxiety.

“If you do all these things without sharing the struggles you have, then you’re still kind of static,” he said. 

Butler adds that accessing a counselor is highly welcomed before it gets to the point where one is in a crisis. “Keeping an open dialogue with people you trust is really important so you don’t get to the point where you feel burned out and overwhelmed,” he said.

Stress from school is a significant factor in the lives of students. Butler expresses his tips for managing stress, especially during the end of the year. 

“I think a big part of managing one’s school work is being able to plan in those breaks between your work,” Butler said. He says that eating and sleeping an appropriate amount is a big issue at Homewood High School. 

“If you don’t take care of your physical body, then your brain is not going to be there for you when you need it,” he says. 

“It’s a big outcome on your physical health and life expectancy based off of how much stress you’re under and how you deal with stress,” Butler said. “Finding ways to deal with it is going to pay dividends for your future.” 

Stress Awareness Month speaks to recognizing the effects of stress and knowing the steps to take to deal with these symptoms.

The Relaxation Station will be available during the week leading up to exam week. There will be essential oils, coloring books, quiet places to study and puzzles. 

Butler also recommends the app Headspace because it is free for students and faculty specializing in meditation exercises.