Tips for Managing Stress as a Nursing Student

Nursing school is a challenge. Figuring out how to balance your lectures, labs, and clinicals is just the beginning. I can see you nodding your head now. You know what I mean.Don’t stress. NurseHub has your back. Here are our top tips for managing stress as a nursing student.

We are here to give you a few tips to help you manage stress as a nursing student. We want you to keep your sanity in nursing school. In fact, we believe you have what it takes to do more than survive your nursing program–– you can thrive in it.  

Be aware

Tune in to your mind and body. Watch for signs. Notice when your muscles feel tense, or you get irritable or easily upset. These are warning signs. Pay attention to them! When your mind and body are trying to tell you something, it’s best to listen. 

Do a quick daily “check-in” with yourself. You can add this self-check into your morning routine or create a self-reflection exercise at the end of each day. 

Also, be aware of how you feel during times of increased stress. For example, anxiety often happens before an exam. 

If test anxiety is a particular problem for you, check out NurseHub’s video course on Overcoming Test Anxiety. NurseHub premium members get this on-demand training to watch and re-watch. Inside the course, you’ll learn practical ways to manage the anxiety that affects many nursing students. I highly recommend this and all of the Prepare for Nursing School courses. Be sure to check them out for yourself, and watch for more videos to be added.  

Take breaks

One thing is for sure. Stress builds up over time. One way to open the pressure valve and de-stress is to take a break! For instance, take a few days to relax and unwind after a tough semester. After a particularly stressful week, you can take a day off to relax and do something you enjoy without thinking about schoolwork. And you can take small breaks throughout the day, too!

Mindfulness meditation is a mental exercise you can use on short breaks throughout the week to ease stress and anxiety. Here’s how to try it.

  1. Find a calm and comfortable place to sit.
  2. Focus on taking slow deep breaths.
  3. Notice your surroundings, thoughts, or feelings. Be kind and non-judgemental. Only notice the signals your mind is receiving.
  4. You can use a timer, mobile app, or YouTube guided meditation to help you if needed.

Connecting yourself to the present can ward off the negativity that comes from getting stressed out. Research shows that just five minutes a day of mindfulness meditation can lower your stress level. Moreover, researchers have shown that meditating regularly for eight weeks actually changes the brain.

Make time in your schedule to practice mindfulness each day, and you might be surprised at how your stress levels improve. 

And for more tips on how to make the most of your time while in school, check out NurseHub’s course on Time Management. NurseHub blogger Jasmine also gives students free tips for time management in this post



Some studies have shown that essential oils may have calming effects, and some integrative medicine doctors even recommend them for specific conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea

To try essential oil aromatherapy, look for pure therapeutic-grade oils. Read the ingredients list and avoid “fragrances” or oils that have fillers. You can use a room diffuser or add a few drops of oil to an unscented lotion or coconut oil to rub on your wrists or temples. One study evaluated the effects of lavender oil on 53 nurses and found that aromatherapy lowered their stress levels. 


Get outside!

Another great way to manage mounting stress is to change your scenery. Fresh air can do wonders for your mental health if you’re spending hours a day under the fluorescent lights of a hospital or classroom. As a matter of fact, scientists have shown that fluorescent lighting can aggravate anxiety symptoms. 


Get outside for a walk, or eat your lunch outside and enjoy the fresh air. In addition, the natural sunlight will give your body a healthy dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to help regulate mood and decrease negative emotions.



Studies show physical activity can lower the body’s stress response. You have so many options for physical activities to promote mental health. Some exercises to try for stress reduction include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling
  • Stair climbing
  • Weight lifting
  • Martial arts
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Yoga

To try exercise for stress management, keep it simple. Schedule 30 minutes of activity into your day 3-5 times weekly. You’ll notice improvements in your physical and mental health


Talk with a trusted friend. 

Lastly, a good way to deal with stress in school is to lean on your support system. Share your struggles with a close friend. Talk about your feelings rather than bottling up your stress. 


A great way to get support when you need it is to get plugged in to the Nursing 101 Facebook Group. The group is a community of students like you, facing many of the same stresses you have in nursing school. If you haven’t already joined, head over to the page and connect now!



Even though nursing school can get stressful, enjoy your time as a student. Your years as a nursing student will fly by. Trust us. 

And all the work you are putting in is preparing you for greatness. Take time to enjoy your accomplishments along the way. 


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