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  • by Nicola Boulton September 05, 2022 4 min read

    How to Deal with Stress at School

    School stress can cause serious problems to your physical and mental health. Let's find out how you can deal with stress at school.

     School-related stress can result from body changes, negative feelings, schoolwork, and conflicts with friends, financial difficulties, adjusting to a new school, or domestic problems. Current studies indicate that many students turn to drugs, social media, playing games, or watching TV to avoid school-related stress. While this could be momentarily beneficial, avoiding schoolwork can cause even more stress. There are many ways to deal with school stress. However, the most effective way to deal with stress is to focus on activities that boost mental relaxation and reduce levels of stress hormones.

    What Is Stress?

    Stress is a mental duress that can occur to anyone. It is a feeling you get when you are overwhelmed or when you are under pressure. Our bodies experience stress and respond to it either physically, emotionally, or mentally. 

    How Do You Recognize Stress?

    According to Giessing et al (2020), stress can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-lasting). Unlike acute stress, chronic stress can lead to serious health issues. It is not always easy to recognize stress. However, there are some signs you can watch out for. They include;

    Physical Signs

    • Weight changes
    • High blood pressure
    • High or low libido
    • Sleep difficulties
    • Menstrual cycle changes

    Psychological Signs

    • Worrying
    • Panicking
    • Poor concentration
    • Amnesia

    Behavioral Signs

    • Being careless
    • Excessive drinking
    • Doing drugs
    • Overeating

    Emotional Signs

    • Feeling sad always
    • Easily irritated
    • Anger
    • Feeling frustrated
    • Being moody

    Possible Causes of School Stress

    Lack of Sleep

    Poor sleep schedules can affect concentration and learning in school. Han et al. (2012) showed that students who do not get enough sleep often feel stressed and unable to perform well in class.

    Fear of Failure

    Students who have experienced setbacks in their school life may feel stressed especially when they need to meet success demands. Fear of failing tests and scoring low grades can contribute to school stress.

    Social Pressures

    As teens grow, they struggle to cope with various forms of social pressures, such as relationships and pressure to fit in a particular group.

    Heavy Workload

    Advanced education levels such as high schools and colleges require a lot of studying. The heavy workload for students (a lot of homework or class projects) can be a source of stress in school.

    Lack of Support

    Lack of support from parents or teachers can contribute to school stress. Whether emotional, mental or physical support, students need that to achieve their goals and perform well in class. 

    New Environment

    Moving to a new school with a totally different environment may cause stress.  Some students get homesick when they are away from their family and friends.

    Pressure from parents

    Students can also experience stress from their parents when they are put under so much pressure to study hard and score good grades.

    Financial Strains

    According to research, students also get stressed because of finances. They tend to worry more when they cannot afford tuition fees or get scholarships.

    Stress Management Tips for Students

    Get Enough Sleep

    Students can be notorious for poor sleeping schedules. As a student, you will likely become less productive in class when you don't get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation impacts stress levels and your overall mood. Poor sleep quality influences cortisol levels (a stress hormone), contributing to stress.

    Regular Exercises

    Seaword (2017) noted that keeping a regular workout practice can help you avoid stress and keep you healthy. Regular exercises such as morning runs, biking, and yoga can help students manage stress at school and maintain a healthy life after.

    Practice Breathing Exercises

    When you are experiencing stress, deep breathing is one of the quickest ways to calm you down. Students usually panic when they are about to do their tests. Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and anytime to relieve stress quickly.

    Progressive Muscle Relaxation

    Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing muscles progressively to allow your body to relax completely. This technique makes your body release stress within seconds. It also improves sleep quality especially when it is done before bedtime.

    Listen to Music

    Music is a convenient way to relieve stress. According to Faus et al (2019), music stimulates your mind and provides calming effects during stressful moments. You can listen to music while preparing yourself for classes, during workouts, when cooking, while cleaning, and before going to bed. Music contains many cognitive advantages and provides mental relaxation.

    Eat Healthy Meals

    Eat meals that help boost your immune system. Healthy meals provide you with the energy to deal with stressful moments.  Foods such as vegetables, fruits, omega-3 fats, and fatty fish help in regulating cortisol levels.

    Seek Support

    Most students prefer carrying the burden alone. However, this can be dangerous as it may lead to depression and other mental problems. Talking to a fellow student, a relative, or a trusted friend makes stressful moments a bit bearable. A supportive network provides moral support and advice during stressful moments.


    School stress is common among many students. Stress in school can affect the physical and mental health of students. In school, stress is a function of multiple factors; financial strains, lack of sleep, social pressure, and parental pressures. However, students can manage stress in school by seeking support, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing progressive muscle relaxation. If the recommended therapies do not reduce stress, students should seek medical advice to have a comprehensive diagnosis of their mental duress.


    Faus, S., Matas, A., & Elósegui, E. (2019). Music and regaining calm when faced with       academic stress. Cogent Arts & Humanities, 6(1), 1634334.

    Giessing, L., Oudejans, R. R., Hutter, V., Plessner, H., Strahler, J., & Frenkel, M. O.            (2020). Acute and chronic stress in daily police service: A three-week N-of-1             study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 122, 104865.

    Han, K. S., Kim, L., & Shim, I. (2012). Stress and sleep disorder. Experimental             neurobiology, 21(4), 141.

    Seaward, B. L. (2017). Managing stress. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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