There’s no doubt that college classes can be stressful. From term papers and homework assignments to keeping up students with projects and those dreaded finals, there’s no shortage of things that cause stress and anxiety while pursuing your degree.

But it’s also true that your college stress doesn’t have to define you.

In fact, Maureen Killoran may have said it best:

“Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.”

In this post, you’re going to learn five ways to cope with the stress and anxiety of being a college student.

No, being a student is not always easy. But you can remove some of that negative emotion with one or more of these techniques.

Let’s dive in and start with number one.

1. Make a Daily To-Do List

This may not sound like a method for reducing stress, but hear us out.

Stress and anxiety often come from your fear of the unknown. They arise from a fear of ‘losing control’ over the outcome of a crucial situation.

Making a daily to-do list can help to curb these fears. It not only gives you a course and a plan for success, but it reinstates your determination to get everything done on time.

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How to Start Your To-Do List

A lot of people over-think their to-do lists before giving up on them altogether.

But all you need to do to get started is to buy yourself a notebook and write down the most important things you need to accomplish that day.

Do it as soon as you wake up, and use it as a guideline to structure your day.

You’ll be amazed at what putting all your goals down on paper can accomplish. It frames your day differently in your mind and gives you the power to focus more on what needs finishing.

2. Schedule Time For Leisure

One thing that makes it hard to relax while attending college classes is the finite amount of time you have to get everything done. When you’re on a tight time-crunch, it sometimes feels like work is the only thing you should focus on.

But believe it or not, some rest and relaxation can actually make you more productive, as long as you’re scheduling it at the appropriate times.

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Here’s the secret:

Be diligent in sticking to your plan, and always stick some rest and recovery time into your schedule.

3. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is a pillar of health and wellness. But it’s also a vital key to staving off stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Sleep can do wonders to help reduce and manage stress in your life.

Adopting a regular sleep routine helps you to:

  • Restore your body’s energy levels
  • Improve concentration
  • Regulate your mood
  • Sharpen your judgment
  • Enhance your decision-making faculties
  • Solve problems better

But a lack of sleep causes the opposite of these benefits.

A lack of sleep will sap mental clarity, reduce your energy levels, and keep you from being able to concentrate on the things that matter most.

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Failing to get adequate sleep can plunge you into a vicious negative cycle. You get stressed, don’t sleep because of stress, and then get more stressed due to lack of sleep.

The answer?

Ensure that you get enough sleep, even if it means skipping out on some activities, parties, or socialization.

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The blue light our devices emit mess with our natural circadian rhythm. So try putting your phone/tablet away about an hour before you need to lay down.

Also, avoid drinking caffeine after noon (I know, it sounds crazy). Caffeine actually stays in your system for far longer than you may realize.

Drinking just one energy drink or coffee in the afternoon can still leave caffeine in your system late into the night.

4. Make Sure To Get Enough Exercise

You’re doubtlessly going to be busy while going to school. But you should never sacrifice your physical fitness at the altar of schoolwork, socialization, or anything else.

Yes, it may take some clever scheduling to fit it all in. But exercise packs in a myriad of benefits that’ll help you stay healthy and keep you in a stress-free headspace as well.

Physical exercise increases your overall health and well-being.


But it also:

  • Gets your endorphins pumping
  • Reduces some of the adverse effects of stress on your life
  • Helps you to enter a more ‘meditative’ state
  • And improves your mood

In other words — if you want to beat stress, get up, get out, and get sweaty!

5. Avoid Alcohol And Other ‘Extracurriculars’

This may sound like your mother’s college advice, but once again — hear us out.

If you’re like most college students, you’re not 21 yet. Not only can drinking get you into trouble with the law (which will only add to your stress levels), but it can also cause some pretty severe hangovers.

Even worse, it could physically put you in danger (accidents, alcohol poisoning, etc.)

Hangovers aren’t good for anything. And they’re definitely not going to help you study, pass tests, or show up to class feeling fresh, fit, and ready to go.

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In other words, the supposed benefits aren’t worth the cost.

So, to avoid stress and anxiety, consider leaving the alcohol alone until you’re over 21 and out of school.


College should be a fun, educational, life-changing experience.

And to get the best out of it, it’s going to be in your own best interest to keep stress and anxiety as far away from you as possible.

Some of these tips may not sound incredibly fun.

But here’s the thing.

Being proactive about your education, and doing a bit of work to sidestep the stress-inducing situations, is truly half the battle.

Double down on the good habits now. You’ll enjoy the good times with minimal stress and anxiety as you prepare to embark on this new incredible chapter of your life adventure.

Author bio:

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Ames to help them with their online marketing.