Our Guide to Managing Stress at Uni

As a student you’re faced with pressures from what may seem like every direction; your lecturers, your tutors, your friends and social life, your family, your hobbies…the list just goes on and on, making it feel like everything is just stacking up with no end in sight.  When pressure begins to get on top of you, stress can sink in; and if you don’t do anything about it, stress can really start to take over and make you seriously ill.

Recognising the signs of stress

First and foremost you need to be able to recognise when you are suffering from stress. Look out for the signs and never ignore them. If your body and mind are telling you you’re stressed, then listen to them and do something about it. Common symptoms of stress include:

  • Headache from muscle tension
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Unusual sweating
  • Shaking
  • Over tiredness
  • Hostility
  • Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
  • Anxiety
  • Lowered self esteem
  • Frustration
  • Increased irritability
  • Memory lapses
  • Loss of concentration
  • Impaired decision making

Taking some regular exercise

Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to lower your blood pressure, as exercise makes your heart stronger it can work less to pump meaning the force on your arteries decreases, in turn lowering your blood pressure. It’s also great for just clearing your head and focusing on yourself.

Practising slow breathing

When things start to feel like they’re getting on top of you, just take 5 minutes to close your eyes and centre your breathing. Taking long, slow breaths can help to bring your heart rate back down and create a feeling of calm, allowing you to think clearer.

Doing one thing at a time; looking at your time management

You’re only human; you can’t do everything and be everywhere all at once. Make a to-do list and put it in order of importance. Do you have a deadline tomorrow? Make that your priority! Allowing yourself to focus on one thing at a time will make your workload more manageable and give you the time to just get it done, so you can tick it off your list.

Knowing your own limits

Again, you’re only human, everyone has their limits. Understand that there might be things you just haven’t got time to do. Don’t promise the world to everyone when you know you’re not going to be able to deliver.

Allowing yourself to say ‘no’

Following on from the last point, it’s really important to allow yourself to say ‘no’. If you know you’re not going to have the time or you just don’t want to do something, you can always say ‘no’. There’s no point in trying to cram in 3 social events in one night when it’s going to cause you more stress than it’s worth, just because you didn’t want to say ‘no’.

What are your priorities? Dedicate time to those first and say ‘no’ to things you can’t take on.

Talking to someone

Keeping everything bottled up is the WORST when it comes to stress. Most students are going to be experiencing stress and might not look it. Open up to your friends, family and teachers, they’ll offer support and advice and help you to take the load off your shoulders.

Doing things you enjoy

This might be the bottom of your priority list, but letting off some steam and just having a laugh can dramatically reduce stress, and in turn help you be more productive when you work. Make some time for things you enjoy, whether it’s simply a relaxing bath and pamper session or a trip to the cinema with your friends.

Staying hydrated

Water is a miracle-worker. Make sure you always stay topped up with plenty of water to help you to focus on the task in hand and prevent headaches creeping in. If you’re not sure if you’re drinking enough, check out our 8 signs to look out for.

For more information on coping with uni life, check out our tips for a university fresher and coping with exam stress.