WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Stress Management 101

Tuesday | September 13, 2016 | by Kaitlin Ramby

A young woman smiling at the sky

As an international student, it can be very easy to succumb to the stress of school, deadlines, work, and cultural change on top of it all. Luckily, there are many simple practices you can implement into your everyday life to manage your stress, so it doesn’t become a burden. Read on to get the tips.


Meditation is when you take a few minutes to slow down the activity of your mind. If this seems daunting, don’t worry. You can start small by finding a quiet place where you feel comfortable and scheduling a few minutes for yourself each day to sit and calm your mind. As you become used to doing this daily, you can try and increase
the number of minutes each day you spend meditating. You can get more tips on meditation for beginners here.

Scheduling Free Time

Although it may seem silly to “schedule” free time for yourself, it is something that is very important to your mental well-being. It also helps you stick to a plan, giving you time to relax. That way, you don’t get too overwhelmed by course deadlines and study sessions. Knowing that you have upcoming free time can also give you something to look forward to when you are busy with school.


It’s not only a good way to stay in shape, but exercise is also proven to reduce stress levels. Exercise can help take your mind off of your worries as you produce endorphins and focus only on the movements of your body. If you don’t regularly exercise, try finding an activity (yoga, aerobics, biking, climbing, etc.) you enjoy and start out slow, with manageable fitness goals until you work your way up to the level where you want to be.

Being Grateful

Thinking about the things you are grateful for on a daily basis is very easy to do and can help you train your brain to think in a more positive way, which reduces your stress level. In fact, research has proven that people who write in a weekly gratitude journal have higher levels of optimism and are more effective in attaining their goals. If keeping a journal isn’t for you, don’t worry, even the simple act of appreciating the positive aspects of your life while walking to class each day can help keep you in a positive state of mind.

Simplifying Your Schedule

Cramming multiple things into your day can lead to an increase in stress. See which activities you’ve planned that are perhaps not necessary to your success as a student or your mental health, and try using these tips to simplify your schedule. Then, you can focus your time on the things that are the most important to you, helping you to be more productive and less stressed.

Organizing your notes and to-do lists with online tools like Evernote, where you can access them anywhere, can help you prioritize and quickly and write down items in the moment, so you don’t forget them.

Stress can overtake anyone, but luckily there are many ways that you can work to reduce it. If you find that simple solutions still don’t work, consider seeking out a professional who can help you better manage your stress, such as a therapist or a meditation instructor. Universities commonly offer free sessions with these types of professionals, so it may be worth your time to contact your school and look into those options.

Do you have any useful tips for managing stress as an international student? Tell us about them below in the comments.

Kaitlin Ramby

Kaitlin Ramby is the Digital Content Producer for World Education Services.