Dealing with stress at school

There are many circumstances that lead to stress, which can seem overwhelming, but here are some practical approaches to dealing with stress at school:

  • Do NOT suffer alone! Talk to someone
  • Set your own expectations
  • Please do not ignore stress for too long
  • Choose your battles and your stress
  • Don’t forget to breathe… and sleep
  • Stress is also physical… find an outlet

Stress is defined as:  “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”. Those circumstances can include serious illness, grief,  not feeling safe, but also workload, exams, and, crucially for students, expectations from parents and teachers.

It is important to realize that stress is YOUR reaction to those circumstances, and not the circumstances themselves, no matter how serious they are. Reactions to the same circumstance are different for each person.

And mild stress has its uses. It will spur us into action, and get things done. However, stress over a long period or excessive level will damage your well-being.

From my research, here are some thoughts on dealing with stress at school:

Don’t suffer alone

If you are dealing with stress, don’t try to struggle through if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, talk to your parents, teachers, or counselor. Some websites advise to find someone you can talk to regularly. Let someone else take some of the load.

I included a list of helplines on my website in case you have no one to talk to close to you.

Don’t ignore stress for too long

Identify what is making you stressed, and beware of it. With awareness comes (a degree of) choice about both your action and your stress. If there are several things, make a checklist and sort in order of priority.

… just enjoy the view …

Choose your Battles

As the famous saying goes: “Give me the courage to change the things I must change, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and give me the wisdom to tell the difference” (Or as the snowman sings in Frozen, “Let it go…”.)

And, just as you can let go of things you can’t change, you can remove yourself from certain stressful situations. Do your friends always seem to be embroiled in drama?

Adopt this as your new mantra: “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.

Managing expectations

Expectations, be it from parents, school or friends, can be an important factor causing stress. Living to high expectations of others can create serious stress, The good news about expectations is that they can be adjusted.

You are the captain. Set your OWN realistic expectations that leave room for over-achievement. You will be surprised how the same situation can look entirely different, and the buzz you can get from it.

Find an Outlet

Dealing with stress has a physical element and will build up in your body or mind. But it can be channeled into something. If sport is your thing use that. Not into sport? Not a problem – be creative: write stories or poetry, paint, sculpt – express your stress in something creative.


Stress can result in poor breathing. But did you know good breathing results in lower stress? So learn how to deep breathe. When you find things getting on top of you, take yourself off to a quiet place, and practice deep, slow breathing for a while. 30 slow breaths will already help, but 20 calm minutes are ideal.

And so to bed

It can’t be ‘stressed’ enough that sleep is vital to your mental well-being.  A tired mind is more stressed. Also, before you go to sleep, it can help to write all your problems down on a piece of paper and leave that note (and therefore your problems) in another room.

The key is to remember not suffer alone when dealing with stress at school. There are people who can help you.

Do you have any tips on dealing with stress at school? If so, we’d love to hear them so drop us a line.

Further Reading: