Skip to main content

Accessibility menu

Skip to main content Skip to footer

Coping skills for stress

Posted 9:42 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30, 2021

You Got This is written with chalk on pavement.

Counselors share a list of 10 coping strategies for stressful situations

As you return to campus this fall and begin managing a new classload, schedule and relationships, you may feel stress, anxiety, fear, uncertainty or other feelings.  

Take a look at the coping strategies below that can help you reduce stress, understand your feelings and manage them in a healthy way, courtesy of counselors at the UW-La Crosse Counseling and Testing Center

  1. Practice self-care and self-compassion. Check-in with your body and what you need. Is it more sleep? Less stress? More energy? Try creating a routine before going to sleep to foster restful sleep, eat things that fuel your body, and take breaks to do things you enjoy. Be gentle with yourself and practice compassionate self-talk by talking to yourself how you would talk to someone you love. 
  2. Connect. Find meaningful ways to connect with others — handwrite and send a letter to a loved one, call a friend or join a new group. It may be helpful to think of one person you can intentionally reach out to or connect with each day.
  3. Acknowledge what you can and cannot control. It is common to focus on circumstances outside of your control. Intentionally take time each day to name what is within your control such as how you respond to a situation, whether you choose to engage with someone, how much you prioritize self-care, or the amount of social media you absorb.
  4. Get physical activity. Even if it is just for 10-20 minutes, make a point to move. Take a walk outside, practice yoga and stretch.
  5. Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
  6. Minimize substance use.
  7. Engage in a creative activity. Whether doing or viewing, enjoy artwork, music or dance. Get creative and try something new or tap into areas of creativity you used to enjoy.
  8. Consider journaling to express feelings. Journaling can help clarify thoughts and feelings and alleviate worries. It can also provide an outlet and help clear our minds so we can be present.
  9. Find ways to relax your mind and body. Take a shower or bath. Listen to calming music. Meditate or practice deep breathing. 
  10. Create a structure for your day and follow it. Create a workspace and a daily routine. Routines can help motivate, energize, and ground us.

Don't forget to reflect on what’s working for you and what isn’t. Try one new coping skill and notice if your mood is impacted.  

Want more self-care resources?

Check out the UW-La Crosse Counseling &Testing Center self-help section