5 ways to ground yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed this school year

If you feel anxious about schoolwork, you're def not alone. Sometimes it feels as though the world will cave in if you fail your biology test tomorrow or make mistakes on your physics assignment (OK, but that last question was really hard). And while these thoughts are totally understandable, they aren't very helpful when you're just trying to get through a night of studying or a few hours of homework problems.

When you're feeling overwhelmed, anxiety can steal your confidence and convince you that messing up is not an option. In moments of those ultra-intense feelings, it can be hard to remind yourself that everything will work out. Does any of this sound like you? Read on for five ways to ground yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed this school year.

Step away from the screen

Maybe you're staring blankly at a Word document or skimming through your notes (ugh, how are you supposed to memorize all those SAT vocab words?) when panic takes you by surprise. You might worry that you're not focusing on the right material, or that your grade will suffer if you don't do things exactly right. When you recognize those emotions starting to creep up on you, take a step outside. Feeling the cool breeze on your face and taking a few deep breaths can help you start to feel *so* much calmer. It's super important that you leave your phone inside, which will also give you some much-needed space away from your worries, feelings, stressors and distractions. (Yep, it's time to step away from the endless TikTok rabbit holes and Insta feed scrolling.) Ofc, schoolwork is important, but it's just as key to take some time for yourself and your mind. 

Focus on the bigger picture

Sometimes when you're extra overwhelmed, all you need is to gain a little bit of perspective. One simple way to do this is to look up at the sky. As you watch the clouds float on, you'll be reminded of the 7 billion people that live on this planet. Many of them feel stress, and many of them find a way through it. Thinking about all of the people in this world will place you into the larger context of everyone. You are just one piece in a puzzle, one leaf on a tree, one part of a whole. 

Try out some breathing techniques

If you're still having a difficult time clearing your mind, adjusting your breathing techniques just might be worth a try. Box breathing is one super easy (and helpful) method to check out. Start by drawing a square in the air with your finger. While you're tracing each side of the square, follow this pattern: breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and then hold your breath for another four seconds. This technique can help you bring your mind back to the present. Focusing on the here and now can help you relax and collect yourself. 

Seek comfort from someone you love

While you're still in a negative headspace, you might find comfort in connecting with the people you love. Maybe you want to talk it out (or hug it out) with your parents. They can offer their own words of wisdom and reassure you that everything will turn out okay in the end. There's nothing like a pep talk from your fam to boost your mood literally instantly. Or, you might prefer calling your bestie. They'll share common experiences with you (like, how your math teacher assigns *way* too much homework) and make sure you know that you aren't the only one who feels the way you do. Maybe you can even plan a weekend hangout to destress! Movie and mani night, anyone?

Engage in positive self-talk

Coping with school-year stress can be super tough, so don't be afraid to give yourself some credit and hype yourself up with some positive self-talk! After all, if everything in the past hadn't turned out all right, you wouldn't have made it through. What's important is that you *did*—you made it this far. Remind yourself that you've pushed through every hardship you have faced in your life up until this point. Believe in yourself and your abilities—after all, they've carried you to some pretty awesome places. Soon, you'll be walking back inside with your head held high, ready to tackle your homework. 

Need more school advice? Check out these articles:

📘 Try these study hacks to end your procrastination habits
📘 How to balance extracurriculars with schoolwork
📘 How to start bullet journaling this school year 

How do you de-stress during the school year? Tell us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Slider image @jennibrhodes via Instagram 


by Bella Postel | 10/3/2022