Tips & Resources for Managing Stress for Graduate Students

The end of spring quarter can be very stressful with figuring out plans after graduation or planning your summer, and finals, and not to mention the beautiful summer weather distracting us all from the work we need to do. Graduate school can come with challenges not faced in undergrad or in the workplace. There is a unique balance of school, work, family, and friends during this time. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing stress, but here are five tips to get through these last few weeks of the school year.

  1. Prioritize yourself

You cannot fill from an empty cup. In order to help your family, classmates, and get your work done you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. This can include mental and physical health. Some simple ways to improve your self-care is getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and being active at least three times a week. Making time for yourself is not a waste, it will help you be more energized and focused for the work you need to do.

Here are some self-care apps that may help you prioritize yourself:

  1. Manage your time

Much of the work in grad school is based on far off deadlines for big projects. In order to help keep you on track and motivated set smaller deadlines for more manageable pieces of those projects. Make sure to check off your progress along the way and celebrate the little milestones. This will help keep you motivated when the other responsibilities in life need attention.

There are many apps and tools that can be used on technology to help keep you on track as you balance school, work, and family obligations:

  1. Seek out your support people

Grad school is tough work and it is important to have a support group around you. These can be family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, or mentors. This network can not only provide some comfort and motivation but also may be able to provide resources needed to complete a project.

Make sure to spend quality time with people that fulfills you. This helps lower your stress levels and allows you to be more focused when going back to work. There are many resources listed below if you need to find a group.

  1. Engage in hobbies

Hobbies are a great way to engage your mind and/or body in activities that are creative and endorphin releasing. This can be reading a book for pleasure, journaling, playing a sport, or getting outside.

Hobbies are a part of on-going self-care and if built into your schedule can help balance the stresses that arise with unforeseen setbacks.

  1. Just breathe

Breathing can help us regulate our body and calm down when stressed. Engaging in focused breathing, meditation, or other mindfulness activities helps ground us, create self-awareness, and focus. It also has positive long-term effects.

However you work to manage your stress, make sure to be present, enjoy it, and set aside the pressures of grad school for a moment. You will get through this and will succeed!


Upcoming Events:

Below are some resources here at DU to help you with this management and if you are in crisis:


Campus Resources for Students

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) puts on programming for grad students and can also connect you to other grad students on the DU campus.

The Health & Counseling Center (HCC) provides many medical and mental health services, including crisis and after-hours support. All DU students have access to crisis services at the HCC, regardless of insurance coverage (phone: 303-871-2205; Ritchie  Center, 2240 E. Buchtel Blvd., Suite 3N).

If you need to connect to affinity groups or want to reach out to help others;  contact the Office of Cultural & Spiritual Life(OSCL) at

Student Outreach & Support is a University resource where trained staff members ensure that students are connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. The Student Support Pathway can be activated by completing a report at or by calling 303-871-2400 to consult.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides leadership, guidance and resources in support of the University’s commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive institution. To contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, please email

Campus Resources for Employees

Employee Assistance Program: Benefited DU employees are eligible for the EAP, which offers up to six counseling sessions each fiscal year. These individual sessions are available at no cost. Call 303-871-2205 and follow the prompts for an after-hours counselor on call.


By Emma Spalding
Emma Spalding