Tips for students managing school stress

Lauren McIntosh

Written by Laruen McIntosh

Clinical Psychologist

Be time wise

You are in control of your workload, so make it work for you. If you know that you work best in the morning, schedule your study for then. Schedule your most difficult tasks FIRST when you have the most energy so that they are out of the way and you can do less difficult tasks as your motivation wears off.

Combat procrastination

The art of putting things off to the last minute often has its basis in perfectionism. Focus on beginning the work rather than finishing the work (get it written, not get it right!) Get your ideas out, and then go back and edit them. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it will be much easier to get into workflow when you have something in front of you.

Schedule rewards

There is nothing more motivating than having a reward waiting for you at the end of a study block. This may be something you watch, something you play, something you eat or something you do. A touch of discipline coupled with a reward will assist not only in motivating you to work, but also will increase the likelihood of more study happening down the track.

Sort your sleep

If you are having difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep, it might be time to consider the following factors; is there a device or a screen in your room? Is your bed the place where you sleep, study and watch TV? When you can’t sleep do you pick up your phone? Screens and devices such as phones are stimulating, which is not good for sleep. Make your bed the place where you go to rest and restore, not study!

A healthy dose of perspective

Many young people feel pressure at school. Whether it is about getting grades or being socially accepted, there are so many factors to manage. Whilst school may feel never ending, the reality is that school will eventually end, and you will have more freedom and choices. It’s important to invest in other aspects of your life that do not end, such as your health, your friendships and your interests.


Having a loving relationship with yourself is key here. You are the one you will always wake up with, every single day! So focus on this relationship first. Be supportive of yourself just like you are supportive of your friends. The way we talk to ourselves matters, so be kind to you.