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How to Manage Stress From a Person with No Stress Management Skills

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Anyone that knows me closely understands that I am not the best example of how to manage stress. The week before I was supposed to move into college, I had successfully managed to pack nothing. I was so paralyzed by fear that I felt completely hopeless. Anything that seemed even remotely exciting was shadowed by the fear of change. Freshman year is a time of great transition that can be incredibly overwhelming. It is the first time that many students live on their own and are expected to live with little guidance by a parental figure. Stress management can be a crucial element to making it through ones first year of college, as well as life.


Journaling is a common way that many people handle stress. This could be seen in a multitude of different ways. Something that has been greatly helpful to me has been keeping a gratitude journal. This is where I write out a couple things every day that I am grateful for. Then, I write about any acts of kindness I have done that day, exercise, and what I have done to foster relationships. I also write about all the good parts of my day, which helps me to decompress and take a moment to find joy.

There is no correct way to journal, it is subjective. You could simply write about the day, which could have to reflect and think through things that happened. A journal could also be kept about the negatives of the day which could help to write it down which and get it out of your head. It can cause stress if you put the expectation of journaling every day because you are putting more on your to-do list. It is meant to help, if it doesn’t then it’s not necessarily for you. When an expectation is placed, it loses all credibility of helping to relieve stress. While I admit I do not journal daily, it has helped me to take a moment of reflection on stressful days.


Creating a daily schedule or even writing down when assignments are due can be incredibly helpful for stress management. It is helpful to keep track of when things are so there is less overlap when it comes to scheduling. Writing out a schedule for the day can help to decrease the amount of uncertainty. Writing things down can also help to manage the amount of work needing to be done. It puts it into something that is tangible or visible which can make it far less overwhelming.

As students, procrastination can be easy to fall victim to. While it may be nice in the moment or makes it feel that we are pushing a problem off, we are in reality stressing ourselves out further. I am an avid procrastinator, however, I find that making a schedule with all due dates and things that must be done helps me to keep on track. Procrastination is not something that is easily fought, however it takes time of creating healthy habits, which in the long run help to maintain our productivity.


On the note of procrastination, it is important to take breaks and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Taking time away from work can help to bring a new perspective. A fresh mind can help to complete the assignment and better the quality of it. A break could be as simple as going on a walk or even scrolling through TikTok. Whatever brings the most joy can be considered a break. Personally, I rewatch episodes of my favorite shows, which helps me to decompress and takes my mind away from the work that needs to be done. There is a balance between a break and procrastination. A break helps to step away for the needed amount of time to then come back and complete the work. If a break is used to avoid doing the work instead of giving your mind a rest, then it has turned into procrastination. Breaks can be greatly positive or negative, it all depends on how you look at it. There is nothing wrong with having parts of the day that are not productive or even full days that are not productive. College is a time to learn, but is also a formative experience that is meant to be fun. Breaks can help to keep a balance between this fun.

Asking for help

There is no shame with asking for help. Many universities have free or discounted counseling which students should take advantage of. They may not be completely forthcoming with this, however with further research into your universities services it should be simple to find. It is not easy to ask for help, however it is not something to be ashamed of. There is a certain bravery that comes with admitting to yourself that help is needed. If stress becomes unmanageable, reaching out can be what is necessary. In my case, I had been struggling for a while, however the first time I had experienced therapy it was extremely negative. It wasn’t until I had an intervention by my family and roommate that I sought out help through therapy. While it is not an end all fix, it has gone a long way into helping my mental well-being. There are also many affordable ways to do therapy that don’t require to be in-person and are not as financially strenuous. Everyone needs help now and then; college can be stressful, but you do not have to deal with it alone.

Closing thoughts

There is no one solution to stress management. The things listed are simply ways I have dealt with my own personal issues and anxieties. College is not something that should be entirely stressful. If I had asked for help earlier, I could have avoided some of the stress that came with the beginning of the year. Stress is not something that can be fully solved, however it can easily be managed if you find the correct combination of things. Everyone is different, meaning everyone requires a different set of skills to deal with stress. Life is overwhelming and constantly changing. Nothing can stay the same forever; however, change is the only way to grow. Stress can feel all-consuming, but it does not last forever if properly addressed.

Rachel Meng is a current freshman at the University of Kansas majoring in Environmental Studies. She is a writer on the Her Campus chapter at KU. They are interested in journalism and love to write. Beyond Her Campus, Rachel one of the founding exec board members of the My Feminist Campus chapter at KU, serving as the Social Media Coordinator. In high school, she was active in theater, band, choir, and DECA. They attended the International Conference in DECA two years in a row and placed in the top 20. In their free time, Rachel enjoys to crochet, read and sing. She loves finding local coffee places to try. Rachel enjoys all things theater and loves musicals. After graduating, they do not have a career plan, however they would love to have a career in journalism focusing on environmental issues.