Top Tips for Managing Stress (New & Returning Students)
Contrary to the popular misconception being a student is not all pints and nights out. It poses many challenges. With the recent emergence of COVID-19 stress is more prevalent than ever within the student community. Our top tips below are for new or returning students who are struggling to manage uni related stress. Whether you are moving away from home for the first time or have already navigated the introductory phases of university this article, we hope, will be beneficial.
Everybody Needs a Cactus
This may be easier to implement if you are a returning student rather than an individual just embarking on their university journey. Still, the below advice is aimed at any one feeling a little out of place. When you are feeling stressed small tasks become colossal feats. We may lack the energy or motivation to be productive. If this is the case perhaps adopt less of an outward view and start on your doorstep (quite literally). We spend a lot of time at home, particularly at university, and it can be a great influence on our mental well being. Some simple adjustments around your home, flat or house share could dissolve some of the stress you feel and help restore some balance. Examples of this include:
- Keeping the house, and particularly the kitchen, clean and organised. Be kind to your home and it will be kind to you!
- Opening windows and curtains to let plenty of fresh air and light in.
- Decorative items can be useful tools when you are trying to mitigate stress. Houseplants are a great example of this.
Get Out and Active
We hear often that exercise is an effective tool against battling stress. We certainly agree and advocate the use of exercise to combat any of these feelings. It is an inexpensive and simple way to restore balance and make you feel positive. When you feel overwhelmed perhaps the last thing you would want to do is to go for a jog or a swim. If you can dig deep, however, and participate in some physical activity the chances of producing a positive mental result are high. For students starting university for the first time exercise, in the form of a society, could be an opportunity to meet new people and make friends. If you are feeling like things are getting on top we implore you to explore exercise as a positive outlet.
Take a Step Away From Your Phone
When used cautiously social media can be a great resource for connecting to people outside of your immediate social circles and broadening your horizons. More and more, however, we are hearing about a negative subcontext within social media apps. Social media holds the potential to offer a warped view of reality and success. This becomes particularly contentious where issues like body image are concerned. Apps like Instagram and Tinder, ultimately, set unrealistic markers for a variety of issues. Trying to mould yourself around the demands of social media can be a difficult and exhausting process. If you are struggling to manage stress it may be worth taking a break from your social media apps. Failing this perhaps look to limit your daily screen time. Your Tinder matches will simply have to wait for a reply.
Alcohol: Friend or Foe?
Alcohol is something that is synonymous with attending university and the student lifestyle. A large portion of your time at university, if you are that way inclined, will be divided between studying and the all important student SU. If you are a new student the socials and events that are organised throughout your first year provide the opportunity to meet new people. For returning students a trip to the pub could be your chance to catch up and gossip. When consumed cautiously and modestly alcohol can be a fun addition to social events and situations. Drinking responsibly, however, is of the utmost importance. Though this advice applies to any individual it is particularly important if you are currently feeling stressed or overwhelmed. The consumption of large amounts of alcohol is not only dangerous but will amplify any negative feelings. So put down that Jager Bomb or, failing this, look to limit your consumption more broadly.
There may be periods at university when you are really busy. At other points, you may not be as busy. This will be largely dependent on your degree choice but, for the most part, is the case. First year students will also find themselves considerably less busy than, say, third year students completing their dissertations. Time Management is an important resource at university and one worth getting right. If you are feeling stressed managing your time effectively could be a big step towards restoring balance and calm. If you have a lot of work and social obligations, and they are getting on top of you, try to take some time for yourself where possible. If you have a lot of work to complete can that mid week social be missed? If you are spending hours in the library for upcoming exams or essays try to take regular breaks so you are not burning yourself out. The same can be said if you are struggling to fill your days. Perhaps the abundance of free time is making you feel isolated and, as a result, you are missing home. In the case of the following try to make a plan for the day. Get out where you can, see friends if they are available and try to exercise to break up part of the day.
Get Your 7 Hours
Sleep is important in restoring energy levels and maintaining mental stability. If you have good quality consistent sleep you will surely feel more happy and balanced. Areas with a large student population, generally, are vibrant and exciting but can be loud and disruptive. Although this is fun it can get in the way of achieving good sleep. It would be wise to invest in some good ear plugs and work on adhering to a healthy sleep schedule.
Seeking support if things are getting on top is always advisable. Speaking to friends or family about how you feel is a progressive and positive first step. Ideally, however, you should notify a healthcare professional. They will be able to support and guide you whilst ruling out any underlying issues. If you are a returning student you may be registered with a GP in your university’s town. If this is the case it may be worth contacting them to book an appointment. If you are a new student you may not yet be registered with a GP. Providing this the university will have an abundance of information and support for you. Some universities have internal health care resources which you will be able to access. Email your student union for more information. Your work and grades are likely to suffer if you are feeling stressed. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself as your mental and physical health are more important than your assignments. It is worth notifying the university, or your course leaders, if you are struggling and are currently seeking help. They will undoubtedly be sympathetic towards your situation and can offer extensions on essays and additional support if they are notified ahead of deadlines.
Whether you are a new or returning student stress, unfortunately, is part and parcel of attending university. The lifestyle is fast paced and without a stable foundation it can quickly become overwhelming. We hope you found the following advice useful and for more tips on university life as well as information on student accommodation visit www.lettucelettings.co.uk