Tips on dealing with stress in nursing school

July 18, 2015

Nursing school is stressful...

There is no way around that. Finding a perfect balance between academics/clinical and your personal life is key. It feels like every week I have 200 million assignments due for all of my classes with anywhere from 1-4 eight hour shifts in the hospital (soon I will be doing 12hr). I also do not like being stuck in the library; I am young and in my twenties. I want to be out with friends exploring the city. Here are some simple ways to relieve stress:
  1. Buy yourself a planner! Get a planner that really works for you. Some people like day planners and others just want the month view. Look around at the store and get a feel for what you like. My planner has both a month view and a week view. In the beginning of the semester I write down all my assignments and tests in the month view. I color code my planner for classes and other non-school items. Having everything written in one place allows me to visualize what I need to be spending my time on. If you do not know by now, time management is essential in nursing school.
  2. Eat right! Everyone knows that when you give your body the proper nutrients you just feel better. Same thing goes when you are in nursing school. If you snack while you study or are trying to stay awake when cramming, then make sure it is something healthy. I like carrots, apples & peanut butter, or popcorn. But do not be afraid to treat yourself with some ice cream now and then.
  3. Exercise. When you exercise your body releases endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. I like doing yoga. I also feel refreshed afterwards and ready to tackle the day.
  4. Set goals & reward yourself. Sometimes this is a double edge sword. Knowing that I want to achieve something, let's say an A on exam, can leave me stressed until the exam is over. But when you accomplish something you put your mind to has it's own reward. I also reward myself with a new item when I accomplish my goals. My weakness is shopping at Target. So if I achieved that A on the exam, then I will treat myself to a new shirt or make up from Target. 
  5. Have a strong support system. There will be times if you wonder if nursing is really something right for you. Or a bad clinical day leaves you in tears. I have been there before. If it was not for my family and my friends I would not be where I am today. Additionally, avoid nursing school drama & do not compare yourself to anyone. There are going to be those students who seem perfect or get an A without studying. Do not worry about them, just worry about yourself. Not involving yourself with these shenanigans will not add more stress to your life.  
  6. Give yourself some time off. Trust me there is always going to be something you can study or an assignment you can complete. The biggest word of advice I received from one of my professors was to make sure I did something I enjoyed at least once during the week. Whether this means reading a book each night for 20 minutes or going to a one hour yoga class on Sundays, just do it! Pamper yourself, but do not blow off studying or completing assignments entirely. Balance is key. 
How do you manage your stress?! I would love to know, so leave a comment down below.


  1. Great ideas. I really like them all. I live by my planner during school. I still don't know how to manage stress at this point. I am a natural worrier so I'm going to try yoga

    1. Hey Rhona,

      Glad I could provide you with some ideas. You will have to let me know how Yoga works for you (:


  2. Also, remember to step away from the planner, books, computer screens, and lecture notes by taking an afternoon or even an hour for mental health alone or with friends. We need to make time for a chips and guacamole run every now and then. Thanks for the great times, Might Nurse Megan!


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