April is a great time of year to live in Tucson! The weather is perfect for enjoying all the wonderful outdoor activities our city has to offer. But for some kids, April is also a time of stress as they prepare for the AzMERIT tests. It is very normal to have anxiety before big tests—we all like to do our best. But it is never helpful to let the stress get so big that it keeps you from doing well.  

So what are some of the things you can do to keep the anxiety down? Talking to someone you trust is always a good start, but physical activity is also important.

Simple things like going on a hike with your family, walking your dog, riding your bike or just throwing a baseball with a friend can go a long way in helping you relax from the stress. It seems strange, doesn’t it—getting active can help you relax? But for some reason it really can help.

You can also try doing the opposite—just unplug from all of your electronic devices, turn off the TV, find a quiet spot in the house or outside, and just relax. Some people like to pray, meditate or just think of happy things. Our minds respond very well to a little quiet time—especially when we are stressed. 

Lastly, remember that, although it is important to try and do your best on tests, it is not the end of the world if you don't do so great; everyone does poorly on tests from time to time. Your family will still love you, your friends will still like you, and life will go on.