Tips for Managing Back to School Stress

Tips for Managing Back to School Stress
  • Opening Intro -

    It doesn’t matter if you’re returning to school online or in person, attending classes in the fall of 2020 presents unique challenges.


An ongoing pandemic, social distancing protocols, a potential return of quarantines, and in some cases, a sudden shift to virtual learning have created a slew of stressful factors — all piled on to the normal anxiety that comes with a college education.

If you’re managing a full class schedule in the midst of the “new normal” this fall, chances are anxiety is going to creep back in sooner or later as you head back to school. When you feel the stress begin to pick up, here are a few suggestions for various ways that you can restore a sense of calm and control.

Maintain Lines of Communication

College can be a lonely place, especially if you find yourself far from home without any friends or family nearby. In fact, loneliness is one of the top stressors for many college students. When you compound this fact with a pandemic that keeps individuals physically separated, it can become a serious concern.

In order to avoid the stress — not to mention the blues — that come from being alone, make sure to set up solid lines of communication before you arrive on campus. Having a friend, a parent, or a loved one on tap to talk things out at times is a critical step in managing stress.

Cover the Basics

Stress is often a mind game. If you allow yourself to feel overwhelmed, things can quickly spiral from there. However, while the principal battle often takes place in your mind, it’s critical that you set the stage for stress management success by ensuring that your physical body is well cared for.

If you allow yourself to become exhausted, out of shape, or malnourished, it can become exponentially more difficult to keep a level head as you attend classes and follow new COVID rules and regulations. With that in mind, make sure to attend to the “big three” physical concerns:

  1. Sleeping: The average person should sleep between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per dayeven when you’re in college.
  2. Eat well: A nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential if you want your body to remain fueled and ready for each day’s challenges.
  3. Exercise: You may feel mentally exhausted from studying and attending classes, but staying physically active is important too, so pack your gear, find an accountability partner, and plan in regular exercise.

While the primary battle will take place in your mind, giving your body what it needs will help you handle the stress with grace and fortitude.

Take Time for Self-Care

While tending to basic needs is a good baseline to maintain, at times you may need a bit more to truly unwind from all of that pent up stress.

When this is the case, reserve a spot in your calendar where you don’t have any classes so that you can plan out a self-care day. This should include:

  1. Giving yourself either space or social activity, depending on what you need.
  2. Unplugging from normal life (and technology) to allow yourself to unwind.
  3. Spending some time organizing and resetting your life.
  4. Engaging in activities that you love, from playing a video game to taking a bath.

Self-care days can be a tremendous anti-stress tool. Just make sure you go about each activity thoughtfully so that you don’t create more stress as you go along. For instance, if you’re planning on some alone time, find a genuinely uninterruptible space so that distractions from others don’t stress you out. Or if you’re using a tub in your rental unit, don’t use a bath bomb that could clog the drain, leading to gobs of stressful time spent on the phone with landlords and plumbers.

Practice Mindfulness

Finally, as you find yourself confronted by stress on a daily basis, strive to remain mindful of your surroundings and your situation. Mindfulness is a natural way to relieve stress. It allows you to:

  1. Slow down and calm frazzled nerves.
  2. Reclaim an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude.
  3. Gain a healthy perspective of your situation.

Mindfulness can be a lifeline to tranquility and calm when everything around you feels out of control. It can help you regain your composure and make level-headed decisions, even in the most stressful of circumstances.

other valuable tips:

Beating Pandemic Stress at College

There are always many factors that add to the stress of a stint at college — never more so than in 2020. With a pandemic keeping everything in a state of uncertainty, you can bet that you’ll be dealing with some stress before you’ve gotten far into the year.

So don’t wait for the stress to build before you do something about it. Instead, refer to the above list and equip yourself with anti-stress tools like mindfulness of your surroundings and communication with loved ones. If you can do that now, you’ll be ready to tackle stress head-on whenever it creeps into the picture.

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Categories: Personal Advice