Do you… spend more hours than you can count in the library? Have impending exams? Looming deadlines? There’s no doubt that being a student is stressful! Firstly, you are not alone in this! And secondly, you can do something about it. It’s important to understand the effects of stress on health and well-being, and more importantly, what to do about it!
Stress can affect your health and well-being in more ways than you might think.
Physically, it can make you feel tired or lethargic, eat lots or lose your appetite, give you aches and pains or stop you sleeping.
Mentally, it can make you feel anxious, stop you focusing on tasks or thinking clearly, feel angry or sad, and it might even affect your relationships.
We all experience stress in our daily lives and the pressure of studying can add to this, which makes it important to learn the skills to manage stress effectively.
Read ahead for our 4 step guide to stress management:
Step 1) Become more self-aware
- It may seem obvious that you would know when you are stressed, but sometimes it can be hard to pick up – self-awareness is key.
- Think about the symptoms of stress we talked about earlier – do any of these occur more often when you have more to do?
- Learn how stress affects you – start to recognise any symptoms that may be stress related.
- Make a diary recording your workload, stress, and symptoms, to start piece together the links.
Step 2) Change the way you manage stress:
- Think about what relaxes you – it might be taking a bath, going for a walk, or chatting with friends. Make sure you make time for this – you will work more effectively by taking breaks and doing things you enjoy.
- Talk to others about how you feel – sharing the load can make a big difference to how you feel
- Try to come up with practical solutions rather than become preoccupied or overwhelmed with the amount of work to do.
- Go easy on yourself – don’t beat yourself up about all the things you have left to do – praise yourself for what you have achieved.
Step 3) Change the way you manage your workload:
- Learn to prioritise – write a list of what you need to do, and order it in terms of importance. Break down the big jobs into achievable tasks and work your way through the list, ticking off as you go.
- Organise your workload – this can help prevent stressful situations arising when it comes to deadlines or being overwhelmed by work. No matter how tempting it is to leave things to the last minute, try your hardest to avoid this!
- Learn to study in a way that is effective for you. Take a look at our Revision Hack series for some great study tips.
- Set yourself challenges and goals, and reward yourself for achieving them.
Step 4) Know where to seek help:
- Seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength, for recognising you need some support and doing something about it.
- Your college or university will have a student support service – use it! They will also be able to signpost you to further services if necessary.
- Student Minds are a UK student mental health charity that provides advice and support on a variety of issues.
- You can also seek support from your GP, who may refer or signpost to other services.