School Pressure: How to Cope with Stress in a Healthier Way

How to Cope with School Stress

School pressure can feel overwhelming, especially during midterms and final exams. Multiple classes, multiple assignments, and, of course, the social pressure: everyone wants to feel like they are valued, and that they belong. But the pressure of school stress is not impossible to overcome.

I’ve seen many dedicated students face and overcome school-related stress by making simple adjustments to their habits and their mindsets. If you’re stressed from school, I hope these ideas will encourage you as you try finding greater peace during stressful times at school.

Set Smaller Goals

While some stress definitely comes from external factors, I’ve noticed there are other times I can cause myself stress because my goals themselves are stressful. Here are some things I’ve found helpful that might also ease stress for you at school:

  • Make goals smaller: Instead of setting just a few big end-of-year goals, set smaller goals to celebrate all the little victories along the way. For example, setting daily goals for practicing your foreign language for 20 minutes will help you feel more confident about homework assignments, and will make it more likely you do well on tests and exams.
  • Make goals reasonable: If you have struggled all year in chemistry and currently have a C-, it would heap stress on you to strive for an A+ with only half a semester left. Setting a more realistic goal, like moving up half a letter grade, will likely relieve some stress while still giving you something to focus on.
  • Share your goals: I don’t mean telling everyone, of course. But sharing the goals most important to you with people you trust (like your parents, your teacher, or a guidance counselor), will ensure they are better prepared to help you achieve what you set out to do.

Remember to Rest

Getting adequate rest doesn’t just help you feel better, it makes it easier to maintain focused and stay centered during times of heightened stress.

Be sure you schedule your studying so that you are getting adequate sleep at night, and take rest breaks throughout longer periods of studying to recharge.

Just like limiting study time in general, limiting breaks helps things stay balanced. Try taking 10-15 minute breaks for:

  • Short walks: Light exercise can keep you energized when your brain needs it most.
  • Deep breathing: Meditation and breathing exercises help you feel calmer faster in times of heightened stress.
  • Prayer and reflection: Asking God for help finding peace during times of stress can help you center yourself spiritually, which can help lower mental stress

Reach out for Support

Grades and schoolwork are your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own when it comes to handling stress. You can ask a therapist for help when you feel overwhelmed, or you can let your family know you need a break for some time together.

Teachers, guidance counselors, and people who care about you want you to succeed in school. Don’t feel ashamed about asking for help when you need it.

Sometimes recovering from stress takes extra support, and we are here to help. Talk to a Hope Coach at TheHopeLine for one-on-one help with stress management throughout the school year. You can get through this, and we are here for you.

Is school stress causing you to have panic attacks? Learn grounding techniques to help you with panic attacks here

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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