Protect Your Child’s Health and Still Get Into Great Colleges
By Jeannette Webb
I have the honor and privilege of working with amazing students from all over the world. They are extremely interesting, highly intelligent, and have often set extraordinary goals for themselves. They enthusiastically dive into projects and soon become the backbone of any organization they join. Because of their dependability, they are often given great responsibilities at early ages. If you’ve been a part of our network here for very long, you know I encourage this and seek to help parents develop these kinds of opportunities for their offspring. But with any sunshine, there is also shadow.
This is not, and never will be, a medical advice column. However, after 3 incidents among my clients in the last month (and recovering from it myself), I feel that I need to address the dangers of a little understood phenomenon – Adrenal fatigue.
Some kids are just born hard chargers. Some kids are born to parents who are hard chargers. Either situation can end up with students maxing out their body at young ages and paying a huge price. What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?*
- Difficult getting up in the morning
- Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep
- Craving for salt or salty foods
- Increased effort to do every day tasks
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Increased time to recover from illness, injury, or trauma
- Light-headed when standing up quickly
- Mild depression
- Less enjoyment or happiness with life
- Increased PMS
- Symptoms increase if meals are skipped or inadequate
- Thoughts less focused, more fuzzy
- Memory less accurate
- Decreased tolerance
- Decreased productivity
- Don’t really wake up until 10 a.m.
- Afternoon low between 3-4 p.m.
- Feel better after evening meal
If you or you student shows signs of adrenal fatigue, I encourage you to get help quickly.
Even though most of you won’t be dealing with this situation, it is imperative that you develop a lifestyle so that you won’t have to.
Most people with big dreams for their kids think that it is necessary to live a fast-paced life with an overloaded schedule both academically and extracurricularly. If 2 SAT Subject Tests are required, then 8 would be better. If 4 AP classes are recommended, you shoot for 9. Since a strong activity record is needed, you join 6 clubs and enroll in debate, dance, gymnastics, and soccer.
This kind of thinking is counterproductive not only to your student’s health, but to being competitive for good colleges. How do you protect your body and build a good record?
- Get plenty of sleep every night
- Learn to slow down and savor the beauty in every day
- Put a priority on relationships
- Figure out what standardized tests you need for the colleges you are interested in and forget the rest
- Take fewer rigorous classes (choosing ones in the student’s primary area of interest) and do well in them
- Focus on a few activities that are the most meaningful and pursue them in a creative and unusual way
- Protect your student from ministry opportunities that will abuse their health (constant travel, high stress days, etc.)
Colleges are looking for interesting students who are healthy both physically and mentally. If we max our kids out in high school (and it happens all the time), we’ve decreased their chances of getting into their dream college as well as compromised their health.
*Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson
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