What Stress Tips Are The Most Beneficial for Students?


Excessive homework is often a trigger for stress. (Fiona Botsford)

Fiona Botsford, Reporter

Last semester I wrote an article about dealing with the stress of finals week, and here I am again, wondering what I should do with my overflowing stress. Stress is something students have to deal with pretty much every week in school. And with the end of this school year fastly approaching, my stress levels continue to  grow, and I know I am not the only one feeling its toll. This is why I decided to try the different techniques professionals have suggested to deal with school stress and find motivation for the end of the year. 

Many people have made articles listing all the ways to deal with stress (even me…) and sometimes, they aren’t great. Stress can vary from person to person, so I want to find out what tips will work for me and possibly work for other students dealing with stress. I will give you my honest opinion, and maybe even be too honest here, on how stress is affecting me in order to ask the real question, what actually helps with student stress?

Let’s Get Organized!

The first thing I will be trying is…getting organized! A pretty simple yet effective task that can make a huge difference is knowing what you need to do and breaking it down into smaller steps. The University of Tennessee Knoxville suggested several ways to cope with stress, and at the very top of the list was organizing. They stated, “Having a plan enables you to take better control of your time and energy so you can handle stress more effectively.” Now, this sounds great to me. More time not to worry about school? More time for activities I want to do? If getting organized is the key to this, why not give it a try?

So, to get started with this stress-eliminating trick, I had to go through all of my classes and take note of what school work that was late and I needed to turn/finish, and then I looked at work due that day and typed it into  my phone. I found the notes app on my phone to be very useful for this task since I was able to make one list of the assignments with due dates. At first glance of the list, my stress definitely spiked but just getting to work over several weeks, shortening the list made me feel relieved, and I was happy to have been making progress. So overall, I found prioritizing the assignments and tasks I had to do was very useful and definitely helped manage my stress. Of course, making lists isn’t for everyone, but you never know, it might just work, so I would say give this tip a try and even experiment a little to help get your assignments done. 

It’s Time to Take Care of Yourself

One of the most mentioned ways to cope with stress was taking a break and doing some self care. And, as I have learned, there is a reason for that. According to an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s important to take care of yourself when you feel stressed because it helps with managing your physical and mental well-being to better handle stress, and even prevent it. I’m always down to take a break from school and do some self care so I thought, let me try this and report back. And that’s exactly what I did. 

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes think I take good care of myself but truthfully, I find myself worrying too much about school to sleep or even eat. It’s bad, I know, but it’s the truth about stress. Things get tough, and I find myself lacking the motivation to do simple tasks. 

This is why when I thought about self care, I wanted to focus on eating food I really like and doing hobbies I enjoy. And so, one weekend when a majority of my school work was done and the rest was put aside, I took the time to bake and cook–some of my favorite things to do. Doing this helped me take a calm break, and I ended up feeling so much better about my stress. 

Of course I also made sure to get some much needed sleep over that weekend. After really paying attention to how self-care made me feel, I can say it really did help with my stress. Self care is easy to do and very important to a person’s mental and physical health which is why I would say if you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, try some self-care whatever it will look for you. 

The only problem I found for myself with this was that I find it hard to relax when I am always thinking about school. It is hard to just let go when I constantly am thinking about what homework I have to do or that I should stay up and finish the assignment, but doing self-care did distract me from this. Doing even just random things kept my mind off school and in return I could take a break from always worrying about what I need to do in school. This is why this tip is one of the most useful tips I found to help when feeling stressed.

Avoiding and Adapting

My last article about stress that I published at the end of the fall semester mentioned the powers of adapting to your stress, as well as avoiding it. When I first learned about this from our school social worker Grace  Lopez-Aliaga, I was intrigued, and frankly it made sense, but I was hesitant about trying these tactics in dealing with stress. You see, I have always been a “yes” person; I found it hard to say no to things, whether in school or just with friends. So learning about avoiding stress triggers by saying “no” seemed very unfamiliar and I wasn’t sure how it would play out. But at that point I was really starting to feel the weight of school get to me so I thought I really just needed to not overload myself and learn to say “no” to things that will make my stress worse. 

Because of this, I started by declining an assignment that I had been struggling with for weeks and that lifted a load off my shoulders. (This depends on your class because you can’t really just say no to an assignment and not do it; You can however connect this to things in your life you should try to say “no” to.) Stepping away from things that are making my stress even less bearable has helped me manage. Sadly school isn’t quite over and I am still stressing about school but lessening my school load does help. This piece of advice though has helped shape some of my final decisions regarding school. resulting in (hopefully) an easier end to the year. 

Another tip I learned about from Lopez-Aliaga was to adapt to the stressful situation. She said, “It’s important to have perspective and to frame your situation with an optimistic but realistic point of view.” This is important because some assignments aren’t meant to be done within a day. Sometimes you need to be flexible and be able to take a step back and complete other work. From experience, I learned that when I tried to rush an assignment I felt terrible the whole time. Since I often do my work at night, I am often tired, very stressed, and just feel like giving up. In those instances, I had to set it aside for the night in order to value myself over my work. (Self-care, Baby!) Some nights I instead just took a break from work by walking around or eating something and was able to finish the assignment with renewed energy. This was quite successful thanks to the lists because I was able to see I just had to finish that one assignment and being able to eat some food and drink something helped me focus and get the work done.

Of course, I get moments where I want to just give up, but these assignments towards the end of the year are worth a lot, so it’s crucial to just put in your best effort. I keep reminding myself, three more weeks, that’s it.  

Adapting to your stress doesn’t just help with school assignments, it also helps maintain a positive attitude. This can help your stressful situation feel easier and less of a handful. This has even better long term effects like making connections with people that can later be a support system for other stressful situations and conflicts, as the Children’s Health Council noted. Altogether, I would say it may be hard to find ways to adapt and even avoid stress triggers but it’s worth a try and it’s also worth trying ways to work through your stress. 

The Truth About Motivation…

The truth is, lack of motivation is something that plagues teeangers in school pretty much all year, and it is quite hard to deal with. Despite that, there are ways to build that motivation back up to get through the tough weeks of school. 

For me, I found it to be pretty helpful to find something in school I really enjoy to keep me entertained and just make my time in school productive and enjoyable. For me, I stopped wanting to go to a lot of my classes and tried to find excuses to not go. I dreaded the work I had to do in my classes, and so not showing up was my way to get out of doing them (it’s not–ditching makes it much worse.) There wasn’t much I looked forward to in school, but once I found things that I really enjoyed (like this article), I felt better about going to class. When I started this article I felt refreshed and full of creativity. That is the feeling I am looking for to finish off the end of the year, that way I can feel good and get my work done. 

Finding things to look forward to don’t need to be hard. It can be as simple as just being in class with your friends, or maybe even going to your classes to see your favorite teachers. I know these last few weeks of school can be very hard to get through, but I would say try and think about what makes you happy in school and in your classes. Hold onto that, and I swear before you know it, school will be over. It’s important of course to use the remaining weeks of school to your advantage and so, I urge you to find some kind of motivator to keep you going to the end of the year.

The year is closing in and there are advantages and disadvantages to that fact. Soon we won’t be walking the halls every week instead it will just be summer. School stress will be eliminated, but, of course, stress will still be part of everyday lives. Whether it be relationship stress or work stress, I hope that there are ways for you to work through it. 

You would think after spending so much time thinking about how to deal with my stress, I would have it all figured out, but I don’t. I am still trying to figure out how to just… chill out, and that’s okay! I hope this article helped you form some of your own ideas on how to deal with stress because I swear you are not alone; It’s a very stressful time and it’s better to acknowledge your feelings than try to suppress them. 

I would say this little experiment was quite successful and I think I can answer my big question: what really works for school stress? I would say overall taking your time and taking care of yourself is the ultimate way to cope with stress. But another thing I learned was that it can look different for different people so, try what you can and take note of what helps you the most.