Going back to school after a long vacation can be quite stressful for students. From chilling away on our beds past 7AM to going back to a monotonous routine, it can take a toll on the students. While the new school year might not bring an avalanche of stress, it eventually catches on to the students. As the semester progresses, assignments pile on top of each other. This sets up the environment for academic stress to thrive. 

Academic stress has been found to cause several mental and physical health problems like anxiety and digestive issues. It is important to identify and manage stress early on.

With a few stress management techniques, the most dreaded season might not feel so dreadful after all. Here are 5 ways to overcome academic stress. 

1. Get Plenty of Sleep 

Stress and lack of sleep go hand in hand. Getting enough sleep can drastically improve your mood and as a result, reduce stress. To ensure a good quality of sleep, follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said,

 اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ، وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي

 إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لاَ مَلْجَأَ وَلاَ مَنْجَا مِنْكَ إِلاَّ إِلَيْكَ، آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ، وَنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ‏.‏

“O Allah! I have submitted myself to You, I have turned my face to You, committed my affairs to You, and depend on You for protection out of desire for You and out of fear of You (expecting Your reward and fearing Your punishment). There is no refuge and no place of safety from You but with You. I believed in the Book You have revealed, and in the Prophet You have sent (i.e., Muhammad (ﷺ)” whenever he laid down to sleep [Bukhari]. 

We also find ahadith of many other du’aas and sunnahs to get a better sleep. Making use of these can help improve the quality of sleep. 

Our body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm which regulates sleep and alertness using changes in the light. When excessive time is spent on screen, the circadian rhythm gets affected as our bodies are naturally programmed to go into sleep when it gets dark. The artificial light from screens can leave the body confused which in turn affects time of sleep and wakefulness.

High levels of stress have been linked to lack of sleep due to the excessive amount of the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress.  Writing down your thoughts or the events in a day can help free the mind by lowering stress and help you sleep better. 

Social media is like a sea that can drag you in the more time you spend on it. A few minutes can easily turn into an hour or two, which is why it is important to constantly check on ourselves and see if the time we spend  everyday is productive or not. Limiting screen time before bedtime can help improve sleep quality drastically. 

2. Set a Routine

Setting up a routine and sticking to it might seem like a daunting task. Getting back to routine means reducing the amount of time spent on any sort of electronic device. While this may not seem so easy, with a little practice, you will be right on track.

Create a proper study routine beforehand and stick to it. Decorating or redecorating the study space is an excellent way to refresh and reset the mind. Apart from helping students increase their interest in studying, it also helps them to focus. 

It is important to avoid procrastinating at any cost as most of the stress stems from piling work that never seems to be completed. But always keep in mind the importance of taking a break whenever things seem to get overwhelming. This is the only way you can avoid a burnout.  

3. Seek Help When needed

It is common to feel helpless and all alone when things get a little overwhelming. Remember, it is completely okay to seek help from professionals whenever needed. To help deal with academic difficulties, Al Huda Global offers asynchronous classes where a student or a group of students are tutored separately. These classes help kids study at their own pace under the guidance of an experienced tutor who ensures every student is equally focused on. 

Academic stress/School stress can sometimes lead to serious mental health issues like anxiety and poor performance. To help combat issues like these, we have qualified student counselors who are available at all times with an open heart and a listening ear to help students stay on top of their academics. 

Parents also play a big role in helping children deal with stress. Children often feel unheard. It is the responsibility of parents to make them feel heard and seen. We often forget the importance of having a heart to heart conversation with each other. One conversation can fix a lot of problems. Having someone to rely on emotionally is the key to developing a strong personality. Children who grow up having a good relationship with their parents are said to be emotionally and socially stable.

4. Structure Your Day Around Prayers

Salah and du’aa are the biggest blessings bestowed upon mankind. However, we do not take full advantage of the benefits. We structure our day around work and squeeze some time in for prayers. What we should be doing instead is structure our day around prayers. 

Salah is the escape that everyone dearly needs from the tiring challenges of this dunya. It calms and clears the mind which helps us think and make better decisions. 

Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala has said, “Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort” (13:28). This verse tells us that the only solution to any stressor is the constant remembrance of Allah through salah and dhikr. 

Salah, du’aa and dhikr are the three powerful tools to combat school stress. 

Create a proper schedule with a to-do list of all the work in a day. Divide and prioritize each task after every prayer. This way, work will not pile up and you will also reap the full reward of worshiping Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.

And also, making dua is the key to easing anything and everything. Do not give up making du’aa, no matter how hard and stressful life gets. 

5. Find Hobbies and Volunteer

Life is not just about academics. To keep ourselves engaged and productive, it is important to have your ‘me-time’ activities. During this time, engage yourself in something that you love doing. Find a hobby if you do not already have one. Hobbies can range from anything quirky like collecting stamps or coins or anything simple like reading a book or taking pictures. Make sure you actually enjoy doing the task. If not, it is time to do a little exploring. Try new activities like going on a hunt for delectable street food or karate! It is never too late to find a hobby. 

Having a hobby is important to free your mind which in turn will help you focus better by relieving stress. 

Children can also be encouraged to volunteer in the local masjid, a shelter, or an orphanage. 

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “if you want to soften your heart, then feed the poor and pat the head of the orphan” (Musnad Ahmad). 

Simple acts like feeding the poor or visiting an orphanage can have a strong impact on the mind and can help relieve pent up stress.