Topic: Stress and Coping Strategies


Learn to cope with academic stress

The ability to manage stress well is a key part of academic success. Our “Managing Stress at University (Undergraduate)” materials are thorough and will help you choose from a variety of strategies to gain perspective, find balance, and manage your stress at university.

Looking for something short and sweet? Read our quick tips on stress management.

If you prefer using shorter tools or if you already know what strategies you want to learn about, feel free to open one of the following tools.

Note that, since the above are pieces of the larger document, some internal links may no longer work in the individual tools. If you would prefer anything in .Docx format, please email us and we can send it along.

Are you a graduate student? Download Managing Stress at University (Graduate).

eggs cracking under the pressure

Quick tips for managing academic stress

1. Identify your sources of distress, e.g. Disinterest? Behind in work? Poor understanding of new material? Unclear expectations on assignments? ESL? Finances too tight? Lonely? Trying to do too many activities?

2. Determine what sources of stress may be under your own control, and what isn’t. Aim to “control the controllables”.

3. Anticipate stressful events and plan ahead:

  • Reduce or eliminate optional activities or responsibilities
  • Set priorities, deadlines and timelines to reach your targets
  • Build in extra time for unexpected events or to catch up.

4. Change your “mind set” or attitude:

  • Ask yourself “are things really THAT bad? What’s the worst that can happen?”
  • Keep your perspective
  • Stop catastrophic thinking
  • Determine what is the most important thing to do right now?

5. Change your behaviour:

  • List your academic accomplishments each day…and acknowledge them.
  • Promote your health: eat well, sleep enough in the night, exercise appropriately.
  • Break big tasks into small manageable steps.
  • Have some fun.

6. Change your situation:

  • reduce e-distractions
  • study somewhere else
  • sleep earlier at night
  • review your course or program with your prof. or Career Services

7. Learn relaxation techniques or do yoga, T’ai Chi, go for a run, etc.

8. Do what you know works for you- – use your healthy “stress buster” activities

9. Get involved with one of the Queen’s Academic Resources

10. Make an appointment with a counsellor in the Counselling Service or a Learning Strategies advisor.


Return to Strategies and Tools

First photo courtesy of AlisaRyan and second photo courtesy of Bernard Goldbach under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No-Derivations 2.0 license.