Managing stress at university is very important for any student. Adjusting to university life can be difficult, especially managing the new workload. If you can keep on top of your work, whilst maintaining the important work-life balance, this will hopefully decrease your stress.
Here are some of my useful tips for dealing with stress at university:
1. Take a deep breath – This one may seem obvious, but it is important to remember to breathe and give yourself some time. Breathing deeply can lower your blood pressure and clear your mind, which is helpful when you’re in a tizz with stress. I sometimes use the card method. This is when you trace your finger along one side of the card while breathing in, then holding the breath for the time it takes to trace your finger along the other side of the card. On the third side of the card, trace your finger along while slowly breathing out. Repeat the process until your breathing is normal and you feel calm.
2. Get a plan in place – Personally, I like to start each week by writing a plan for what I am going to tackle on each day. This gives me a sense of structure and routine which can be very beneficial when managing stress. It’s also reassuring to know I have everything I need to get sorted written down so I don’t forget something, preventing a panic moment later.
3. Talk to friends about it – Living in halls is a massive plus for this one. All you have to do is walk down the hall and knock on a door and you can talk to someone. Obviously, due to social distancing rules, it may be difficult to do this now but you can always talk on the way to lectures or in the food hall.
4. Know that a lot of people are in the same boat – Although people may be good at hiding it, everyone deals with managing stress at one point or another. Everyone copes with stress in different ways, but most people will find the adjustment challenging. Knowing you’re not alone in this is a real comfort.
5. Family is only a call away – Though it may seem at times that you are all alone and isolated, I can promise you’re not. Technology is a wonderful thing! Keeping in contact with family or old friends is easy and can give you a boost if you’re feeling worried.
6. Talk to the Wellbeing Team – The team at Writtle is made of wonderful, supportive people who will reassure you if you are feeling stressed. They are always available to have a conversation, during the day or at any time of night.
7. Go for a walk – Going for a walk around campus or into Writtle village can give you time to clear your head and put things in perspective. It’s a lovely area to explore with a library in the village and little tea rooms to visit. It may be nice to go with your friends too. This gives you a break and allows you to take some time for you.
8. Don’t leave everything to the last minute – Leaving assignments or revision until the last minute will not help your stress levels. The team at Student Success can help you with organisation and plan how much time to spend on each assignment. If you aim to hand-in your assignment three days before it’s due, you will have some extra time if you need it.
9. Go somewhere quiet and listen to some music – Sometimes tuning out the world is exactly what you need. When everything feels like it’s going wrong, closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and listening to some music in a quiet place can help silence your stressful thoughts. This will give you a moment to collect yourself and put things into perspective. It’s not the end of the world and you will get through this!
10. Look after yourself – Sleeping and maintaining a healthy diet will help your mental, as well as your physical, health. Getting at least eight hours sleep per night (yes, even on nights out!) and eating the healthy stuff (as well as the chocolate you store in your drawer) can help keep you motivated. This will stop you from leaving things ‘til the last minute and lower your stress levels.
These tips have been beneficial in helping me manage stress at university. Obviously, everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others. Try to find some tips that work for you and keep reminding yourself that this stress moment will pass. Have fun at university and remember you can do this!
Written by Emily Toogood
2nd Year Veterinary Physiotherapy Student