5 Tips to a Stress-Free Semester

By Khayla Shipman

Action-packed tips to set you up for a Stress-free Semester!

Khayla, ASU Student

Whether you’re in college or high school I always look forward to the start of a new semester. The seasons are changing around us and it gives us a chance to learn from the mistakes we might have made (we’re all human sis), put the past behind us, and start fresh. So I’m giving you the ultimate guide for a stress-free semester. Check out the “action steps” for tangible tips you can use to start eliminating stress right now. I’ll be implementing these tips too, let’s make this a semester where we stress less! 

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1. Use a Planner!

I know I’m not the only one that can get a little bit (or a lot a bit) stressed from time to time over schoolwork. If I’ve learned anything from years of being a student it’s that the difference between sleepless study nights or sleeping through the test, passing or failing, and cramming or crying into your textbook is two simple words… PLAN AHEAD.

 As my dad always says “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”. 

All of the anxiety, headaches, and tears are preventable when you take a few extra minutes to plan for the work that’s to come. I personally started using a planner in 5th grade because it was required to help prep for middle school, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. (Thanks Mrs. Kendall!) 

For more on using your planner check out “What to include in your planner: 10 Creative Ideas!”

ACTION STEP: As soon as you receive the syllabus or important due dates put them in your planner (color-coding for each class really helps). Then, I type them into my digital calendar (I personally use iCalendar on my iPhone) Yes, I recommend doing both. It may seem like a lot of work now, but I promise it will be your saving grace.

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2. Simple Routines for a Stress-Free Semester

Did you know that the world’s most successful and wealthy people all have one thing in common? They religiously follow a simple and specific morning routine! That’s right morning routines aren’t just a Youtube trend. From Oprah to Mark Zuckerburg (CEO of Facebook), billionaires swear by starting their day with a morning routine. Luckily anyone, even you, can easily create a simple morning routine to jumpstart your day and stress-free semester. 

Morning person or a night owl, it’s likely that you already have a routine! (PSA If the first thing you do after your alarm goes off is scroll on Twitter or Insta that’s a part of your routine… yikes.) Fear not friend, we’re all guilty of it, but you can change that easily with some intentional choice making. I personally try to always start my day with God & gratitude. Before I do anything else I sit at the edge of the bed and thank Him for all that he’s doing in my life and pray for the day to come. It takes just a minute or 2 and it always puts me in a good mood. The beauty of life is that every single day is a fresh start. Creating a routine that makes you feel good so you can start the day with a smile. 

ACTION STEP: Look at your morning routine and see how much time before you have to be out the door. Divide that time up between each task you’d like to accomplish. Start with 5 things and remember, keep it simple. I’ve listed some ideas below, you may have to wake up a little earlier but you’ll thank yourself when you’re stress-free and feeling like a million billion bucks! 

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3. Keep a Journal 

Journaling is one of my favorite ways to deal with stress or anxiety. It really helps you to let go of the past, learn from the present, and reflect so we can grow. I started journaling in middle school during a hard season and I haven’t stopped since! Thanks to my journal, my parents, and a lot of prayers I was able to have a place to vent and process all of the feelings and emotions of that season and many others. It’s so therapeutic to just let it all go. 

It was even cooler to be able to look back and see all the ways God was working in my life. It’s so easy to just pray for things and forget to look back with gratitude and when God actually answers those prayers! As I’ve filled the pages of my journals over the years through high school and currently through college, I love being able to look back and see Him working for my good. 

ACTION STEP: Get yourself an inexpensive, cute journal, and just start writing! I’ve gotten journals for $5-7 from Target, Home Goods, or TJ Maxx/Ross. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just put a pen to paper and write from the heart. I start my entries with “Dear God…” but you can, of course, do whatever makes you comfortable! Take 10 minutes and let it all out. The good, the bad, and the ugly. You’ll feel so much better. I promise.

4. Create a Study Schedule  

Okay ladies, listen up! This tip is SOLID GOLD here. I learned this the hard way because in my first semester in college I didn’t study. Yep, you read that correctly… I called it “studying” but I really was just doing homework. I focused on what was due for class and then skipped off to my social calendar events for the day. (Sorority events, club meetings, lunch dates, etc.)

 It wasn’t until right before the midterms when I was nearly failing every class that I realized it. I should’ve stopped procrastinating and actually made time to STUDY. By study, I mean reviewing & memorizing the material over time in order to do well on exams. Just like I did in high school.  

I know… don’t judge, I’m keeping it real with ya! I don’t know why it took me that long to get it together. Needless to say, I had to retake and pay for those courses again. *Cha-ching* (I aced them this time around… but that’s beside the point). So that being said, create a study schedule so you can have a stress-free semester. 

ACTION STEPS: Your study schedule is a consistent routine that you follow throughout your school week. It will help you memorize and become confident with the content as you learn. You are basically taking small bites of this huge “main course”. *See what I did there*  Start by choosing one subject and make that study schedule!

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5. Make Sleep a Priority 

Ever wonder why little kids have so much energy? One reason is that they have bedtime routines and get consistently great sleep! Sleep is so important and is so often neglected! A lot of times in our busy lives with so much on our plates we sacrifice sleep way too easily. It’s the first thing on our list that we’re willing to give up. Even for silly things like binge-watching or scrolling social media.

I challenge you this stress-free semester to move to sleep up higher on your priority list! Getting adequate sleep has so many more benefits than just feeling well-rested. Just a few benefits include improving your memory, weight loss, lower stress levels, clearer skin, and an overall happier mood! All that goodness from spending more time in your cozy bed? Yes, please!

ACTION STEP: Use the “bedtime feature” on your Clock App if you have an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Set a sleep schedule that gives you at least 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. It can send you reminders to wind down, put your phone in do not disturb mode, and wake you up in the morning! Or set alarms for your bedtime and wake-up time. 

I hope these action-packed tips inspired you to take control of your day, set some goals, and make intentional choices! Take some time to slow down and set yourself up for a successful, stress-free semester. Trust me you’ll thank yourself in the future.

 DM me on Instagram @khaylaraelynn and let me know if these tips helped you! I’d love to give you a shoutout on my IG story! Don’t forget to comment below on any other tips for a stress-free semester that I may have missed. As they say in HSM, “We’re all in this together!” Please share this with your friends so they can stress less too!

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