Recognizing Stress and Helping Students Manage


Now that we’ve passed the halfway point of the semester, it’s likely that students are beginning to feel the pressure of upcoming assignments, projects and tests for their IOAPA courses or otherwise. Here are some tips for recognizing stress in your students (or yourself!) and ways to manage it.

Recognizing Stress: and suggest looking out for

  • Physical illness or pain with no medical explanation
  • Over-the-top emotional reactions or increased aggression
  • Decreased effort in school or on homework
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Increased anxiety or panic attacks
  • Unhealthy and dramatic behavior changes, including engaging in more risky behaviors (drinking, smoking)
  • Increased sadness, depression, or isolation from family or friends

Managing Stress: and the American Psychological Association recommend

  • Helping teens understand their own feelings by talking to them about what’s bothering them
  • Helping students break big projects down into manageable chunks if they are a source of stress
  • Celebrating small victories and achievements to help improve self-esteem
  • Finding appropriate ways for teens to blow off steam (exercise, engaging in favorite activities, etc.)
  • Being clear about your expectations to help reduce worries about letting you down
    • It’s also important to consider whether your expectations are appropriate for your student
  • Creating a safe harbor by maintaining routines and rituals that can offer a sense of security
  • Modeling healthy behaviors to manage your own stress – actions speak louder than words!

Other Resources: The University of Iowa Counseling Service (UCS) devoted an issue of their newsletter to stress and anxiety, and it is available here. UCS also has a list of stress management strategies on their website. You can also consult our previous blog post on this topic for more strategies and resources.

One response to “Recognizing Stress and Helping Students Manage

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