How to Deal With Stressful Situations in School

Four Methods:Handling SchoolworkDealing with Your PeersCoping with Other SituationsReducing Stress in General

Dealing with school and everything that goes along with it can be stressful. You may find yourself trying to balance challenging assignments, your job, dating, problems with your friends and classmates, and other situations. But you can deal with the stressful situations that you face in school if you handle your schoolwork, deal with your peers, cope with other situations, and take care of yourself.

Method 1
Handling Schoolwork

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    Use your time wisely. Having tons of schoolwork to do can be very stressful, especially when you have other responsibilities and obligations. Good time management may be one of the most important parts of managing it all and feeling less stressed in school.[1]
    • Make sure you are starting your homework early enough each day to finish it and still get a good night’s sleep.
    • Use an agenda, calendar, or planner to help you schedule time to work on long-term projects and reports. Pencil in due dates for each phase of the project.
    • You can also put important dates like upcoming tests on your calendar and schedule in study time.
    • If you have study time during the school day, then use that time for actual studying and not socializing.
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    Get organized. Having the materials that you need to complete your schoolwork when you need them will reduce a lot of the stress of school.[2] You won’t have to waste time looking for your supplies or assignments and can get straight to work when it’s time. Also, being organized will help reduce the distractions you have in your work space.
    • Put away any supplies that you don’t need for the task at hand. Use an organizing caddy, pencil box, folders, dividers, etc. to help you organize your supplies.
    • Organize your school papers so that everything is neat and you can find it when you need it.
    • Label folders and use sticky notes to remind you what you need to turn in and what you need to do.
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    Take a short break. Sometimes a moment away from your schoolwork can recharge your brain and help you tackle the work.[3] Even if it’s just closing your eyes for a moment or two, detaching yourself from your schoolwork can help you deal with the stress of it.
    • If you can’t leave the room then close your eyes for a few seconds and try to clear your mind. Imagine yourself doing something you enjoy.
    • If you can, then take a quick walk to clear your head. Even if it’s just a walk to the water fountain or restroom, it can help you deal with stressful schoolwork.
    • Try taking a few minutes to relax before you start your homework when you get home. Also take breaks while you are completing your homework.
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    Prepare for tests and major assignments. Waiting until the last minute to study or write a report will only increase your stress level and possibly result in a bad grade. But if you make a plan and prepare for exams, reports, and projects before they are due, you will feel much less stressed.[4]
    • Break major assignments down into smaller parts and decide when you need to complete each of the smaller parts.
    • For example, you might break a project on the Constitution down into four parts: your research, report, poster, and speech.
    • Study for tests by reviewing one concept or idea at a time. Make sure you start studying far enough in advance to review all the material.
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    Ask for assistance. There may be times that your schoolwork is overwhelming you. You may not understand a concept or may have fallen behind in your work because of an illness or other situation. You can handle this stressful situation by asking for help and relying on your support system.[5]
    • It’s better to let your parents know that you’re having problems with your schoolwork early on. They may be able to help you with it, talk to your teacher, or even get you a tutor.
    • You might say, “Dad, I’m having problems with my algebra. Could you help me out?”
    • Let your teacher know when you don’t understand something or think you won’t be able to turn in an assignment on time.
    • For instance, you could try, “Mrs. Castillo, Could you help me? I think I may need more time finishing my report on Native American tribes in this area.”
    • Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or classmate to help you understand a concept. You could say, “Would you explain the water cycle to me?”

Method 2
Dealing with Your Peers

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    Make time to socialize. Spend some time with your friends and classmates outside of school. Being around people that you can talk to, and that support and encourage you will help you handle a lot of the stressful situations you deal with in school.
    • Hang out with people that make you feel good about yourself and encourage you to be a better person.
    • Get to school or class a little early so that you can chat a bit with your friends and classmates.
    • Spend time with your peers doing hobbies or something not related to school. For example, you could meet one of your friends from class for coffee or tea.
    • Make sure you are socializing at the right time. During class or other ‘quiet’ times is not the right time and can get you in trouble.
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    Take your time with dating. Although having a boyfriend or girlfriend can be fun, it can also be stressful when you are also trying to balance school. Don’t feel rushed or pressured to date or be in a relationship. Just take your time, focus on school, and focus on having fun when you do date.
    • You never have to date someone just because they, or anyone else, wants you to. You decide if and you who want to date.
    • Make sure that dating doesn’t interfere with you getting your schoolwork done. For example, you may want to schedule your dates for the weekends.
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    Stand up to peer pressure. Sometimes your peers will try to convince you to do something you don’t want to. For example to skip school, have sex, or try alcohol or drugs. Don’t let it stress you. Instead, ignore their attempts and stick to what you believe you is right.[6]
    • For instance, if your friend wants you to go to a party where you know there will be beer, you can say, “No. I’m not going. I’m too young and that’s trouble waiting to happen.”
    • If someone is pressuring you about sex, then let them know that you aren’t interested and they need to drop the subject.
    • You might calmly say, “I’m not doing that and, really, I’m not even talking to you about that.”
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    Ignore rumors about you. If someone has spread rumors about you, don’t let it get you stressed. You know the rumors aren’t true and the people that really know you and care about you won’t believe the rumors either. So don’t waste your time getting stressed about it, just hold your head up and keep doing you.[7]
    • When you can, just ignore it when someone says something about the rumor. They are probably just trying to stress you. Don’t let them.
    • If you feel you need to address it, then it’s okay to calmly explain that the rumor is not true.
    • For example, you might say, “No, that’s just a silly rumor. I didn’t eat 12 ice cream cones.”
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    Support a friend who is in trouble. It can be hard when your friend has done something wrong, has been hurt in some way, or is hurting themself.[8] But you can deal with this stressful situation if you support your friend and ask for help with the situation.
    • Listen to your friend and let them know that you care and want to help them out.
    • You might say, “I feel bad that you are going through this and I want to help you with this situation.
    • Even if your friend asks you not to, it will be less stressful for you and more helpful for your friend if you ask an adult you trust to help with the situation.
    • Tell your friend, “I think we should let someone who can help us know what is going on.”
    • You can even talk to an adult without using your friend’s name, if you need to. For example, “Mrs. Carter, can I to talk to you about a friend who’s hurting himself.”

Method 3
Coping with Other Situations

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    Make amends when you do something wrong. If you find yourself in trouble for doing something wrong, the best thing to do is to admit what you did and apologize for it.[9] It will be much less stressful for you if you make amends than if you try to deny it or act rebellious.
    • Be honest about what happened. You will feel better about not lying and your teachers and principal will respect you more.
    • For example you might need to say, “ Yes, I did cheat on my history quiz.”
    • Apologize and try to repair any damage that may have been done by your actions.
    • For example you might need to say, “Brandi, I’m sorry I spread that rumor. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
    • Or, for instance, “Mrs. McEntee, I’m sorry I wrote my name on the desk. I’ll clean it off.”
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    Balance work and school. If you are working and going to school at the same time you may find yourself extra stressed. You may be having difficulty getting enough sleep, getting your schoolwork done, or trouble getting to school and work on time. Taking the time to figure out how to balance work and school can save you a lot of stress.
    • Sit down with your parents or your supervisor at work and work out a plan for how you can work but also complete your schoolwork without a lot of stress.
    • Consider alternative ways of going to school if you have to work to support yourself. For example, explore taking online, weekend, or night classes.
    • Be sure that you give yourself some time off from both work and school so that you don’t burn yourself out.
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    Talk about stress that adults are causing you. Sometimes it’s not just your schoolwork, friends, and other activities that are stressing you out. Sometimes your teachers or parents are the ones causing you stress.[10] If an adult is doing something that makes you stressed, you should talk to someone you trust about it.
    • If it’s a situation of typical adult nagging or being annoying, then venting to someone can make you feel better.
    • For example, you might tell your friend, “My mom is really on my case! She said until my grades improve, I can’t hang out after school!”
    • If an adult is doing or saying things that make you feel bad about yourself, threatened, or unsafe, you should definitely tell another adult you trust.
    • For instance, if your coach made a sexual comment around you, you could tell your dad, “Hey, I need to talk to you about something Coach said.”
    • Or, for example, if your mom calls you names when she gets angry, you might say to your teacher, “Can I talk to you about some things going on at home?”

Method 4
Reducing Stress in General

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    Try physical activity. Working out, participating in sports, and other activities that get you moving help reduce your stress overall and can help you improve or maintain your physical health. This will help you cope with the stress school easier.[11]
    • Participate in a team sport as a way to be active and meet new people. Also, you might be more likely to keep it up if you know your teammates are depending on you.
    • Try activities like walking, jogging, hiking, or biking if you prefer more solo activities. This can give you time to think and work on calming yourself.
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    Nurture your self-esteem. Dealing with stressful situations in school can make you feel bad about yourself or look at yourself in a negative way. In addition, worrying about how you look can stress you out. Don’t let it. Make an effort to do things that boost your self-esteem and self-image.[12]
    • Use positive self-talk. For example, look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am cool and funny. I can handle school and the stressful situations of school.”
    • Hang around people that boost your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself.
    • Write a list of your positive characteristics. Post it somewhere that you can see it easily and on a regular basis.
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    Relax. Take some time out of your schedule and do something relaxing.[13] This will give you a moment to clear your mind and calm your body.
    • Do something you enjoy like playing a quick game on your phone or watching an episode of your favorite web show.
    • Meditate for a few minutes. Try to focus on your breathing or counting. Try to let all other thoughts simply pass without dwelling on them.
    • Call a friend or hang out with them for a little while. Do something fun that both of you enjoy like going to a movie or for ice cream.


  • Try to talk to someone you trust about your stress problems.
  • If things are so bad that all you want to do is go home, ask to call your parents and get someone to come and pick you up.
  • If you trust your teacher, talk to them about it! They can help you create strategies and can excuse you from class if needed.


  • There is always someone to help you - a teacher, a counselor, social worker, a principal, a police officer, a friend, a parent, a relative, a nurse, a doctor, a clergy member. Do not despair into thinking you're alone because you're not. If the first person you talk to about your worries dismisses you, find someone who will listen and care.

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Categories: Emotional Health and Well Being | Surviving School