Self-Care Tips For Grad Students

Grad students are juggling many roles and demands in their personal and professional lives, and this can lead to intense stress and pressure. Financial and family concerns, imposter syndrome, and challenging program dynamics are just a few of the common challenges grad students face.

It may feel like self-care is a luxury that you can't afford or you need to hang on until you've graduated to be happy, but feeling good during grad school can make you happier, healthier, and more productive.

You can use these self-care strategies to manage stress, prevent burnout, and feel good in grad school:

5 Grad School Tips

5 Tips to Surviving Grad School from Ali Mattu on the Psych Show:

  • Understand your procrastination

  • Invest in self-care

  • Find your people

  • Get involved

  • Build a professional online identity


Understand Your Procrastination

  • Break Down the Steps

  • Keep The Task Small

  • Set the Bar Low

  • Hack Pleasure from the Experience of Studying

  • Use Parkinson’s Law to your Advantage

  • Be Deliberate with Your Study Environment

  • Understand Your Personality Type


Learn more: 

Understand your personality type:

Self-paced presentations for grad students:


Take Good Care of Yourself

  • Take a holistic approach to your well-being.

  • Burn-out is common in graduate school and one of the major reasons for leaving a graduate program. You can prevent and recover from burnout by making sure you're prioritizing wellness.

Start here: 

Create a Personal Wellness Plan


How other grad students are doing it: 


Learn more:

Self-paced presentations for grad students:


Be Constructive in Your...


Talk to yourself with encouragement and kindness. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. And whenever you're feeling behind, inadequate, or overwhelmed, remind yourself of your strengths, what you appreciate in your life, and your ability to figure things out.

Self-Compassion Exercises


Take a constructive perspective using positive thinking. Start by noticing what's working, how you can build on it, and all you have to look forward to. A constructive attitude is also solution-focused. In challenging situations, turn your attention to answerable questions, solvable problems, and the resources available to you.

The Power of Perspective


Before you burn out, make a point of asking what would be most constructive...even if it's not the most "productive" thing. Consider sustainability and take the actions that are most supportive to your success and your wellness.

The Ultimate Deliberate Practice Guide


Learn more:

Build a Community

Surround yourself with people who get what you're doing and why you're here and support you through the process. Find like-minded students, identify mentors, and find your spot off-campus. And when you get together, try to reserve at least some time to talk about something other than work.

And Ask for Help When You Need It

During grad school, it can feel like you're supposed to know everything and keep it all together easily. For many students, this can make the idea of asking for help scary. Whether you have a question about your work, need to delegate work or school tasks, or need support in taking care of something in your life outside of school, asking for support can help you regain bring order to chaos and prevent yourself from burning out.

Learn more:



Stressbusters Wellness, U of A Edition: audio tracks, relaxation, meditation, events.

Headspace: Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple

Stop, Breath & Think: 5 minutes to peace

Woebot Evidence-based treatments, accessible anytime and anywhere.