While school instills self-discipline, it’s no secret that it can also be stressful and even detrimental to some students. If the stress compounds too much, it can harm your academic performance and impact your mental health. Here are three ways you can stay focused and healthy, even during a chaotic portion of the school year.

3 Methods for Maintaining Mental Health Amidst School Stress

  1. Take Time to Relax

You may feel like you always have something on your to-do list, but you won’t be doing your best work if you’re constantly frazzled. Build in leisure time for yourself. This could involve reading for pleasure, taking a walk, or watching a favorite TV show, whatever helps you decompress from your busy schedule. You can even use these breaks as a reward for putting in work, alternating productivity with relaxation so you don’t get burned out.

  1. Assess Your Stress

It’s easy to let the possibility of a poor grade or unpolished paper freak you out, especially if you want to apply to competitive colleges. Your own expectations can go too far, though, and you’ll only end up setting inhuman goals. Instead, find a happy medium for yourself. For example, instead of striving to ace every test, find a reasonable grade you can be happy with and strive toward that.

  1. Take Care of Yourself

If you’re approaching a big exam or term paper, it can be easy to forego basic needs to spend more time working. However, skipping meals or pulling multiple all-nighters will only hurt your academic performance, and make it harder to emotionally cope with the stress. By building in breaks to get enough food, sleep, and exercise — and seeking a therapist if you feel like school is affecting your mental health — you can ensure you stay levelheaded, no matter how crazy your semester gets.