• 3-minute read
  • 16th March 2016

Keep Calm and Carry On: Dealing with Student Stress

With deadlines, exams, essays and course fees to worry about, it’s no wonder stress is a growing problem among students. Nor is stress something you should ignore.

The Symptoms of Stress

The first step to beating stress is being aware of its symptoms, which will allow you to take action before it becomes overwhelming. Signs to look out for include:

  • Irritability and inability to concentrate
  • Feeling anxious and unable to relax
  • Finding simple, everyday tasks tiring
  • Difficulty sleeping and lack of appetite
  • Aches or pains unrelated to other medical conditions

Most of us will have experienced some (or all) of these at times, so one restless night doesn’t mean you’re close to breakdown; however, if any of these symptoms are interfering with your daily routine, you may need to consider how to de-stress.

1. Eat, Sleep and Exercise

A healthy diet, combined with regular sleep and exercise, goes a long way to combatting stress. You don’t even have to become a fitness-freak to benefit; minor changes – like eating more fresh fruit and veg, taking daily walks or cutting out caffeine before bed – can help a lot.

2. Understand Your Stressors

For some it’s work, for others social situations, but everyone has their own stress triggers. Try to consider what makes you feel most stressed, as then you can prepare yourself should the circumstances arise.

3. Talk to Someone

It could be your supervisor, your best friend, your mum or a professional counsellor, but if you’re stressed it’s almost always better to talk to someone than bottle it up inside. If nothing else, explaining your situation to someone else might help you see the problem more clearly.

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4. Meditation

Meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to help with stress; by encouraging your body and mind to relax, you can counter the stress response.

5. Organise and Prioritise

Sometimes we feel stressed because we think we’ve got too much to do, but really it’s a simple matter of getting organised and prioritising.

Getting organised by planning your work and sticking to a regular routine will ensure you work efficiently; prioritising means understanding which tasks are most important at any given moment and focusing on them.

6. Keep Everything in Perspective

In the end, your wellbeing is more important than any exam or essay. You need to work hard at university, but not to the extent that it damages your health.

Make sure to take care of yourself, including finding time to relax now and then. If you approach your university work feeling rested and happy, you’ll probably find it enhances your academic performance too!

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