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How to Deal With Uni Stress

14 April 2022

Everybody knows that university life can be lots of fun. It’s a time for meeting new people, socialising, and individual growth.

What people don’t often talk about is how stressful uni can be.


Sources of stress

Student living is so much more than just studying. University life involves coursework deadlines, exams, and a mountain of pressure to make decisions about the future.  As well as that it’s about learning how to deal with money, moving away to a new city, cohabiting with new people, and becoming independent. 

These are all intense experiences in their own right. 

Put them all together and it’s no wonder that many students end up feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and experiencing mental health problems during the course of their university career.

That can be put down to a number of factors including lack of planning, money probs, relationship problems and conflicts with housemates. 

Here’s some of our best advice for coping with uni stress….


Organise yourself

With a multitude of course deadlines, assignments, and homework, it’s so important to keep track of everything.

Keep on top of everything by using a planner. You can put all of your deadline dates in there and you’ll find that it helps you to visualise the workload you have. That in turn helps you to prioritise tasks.

In a similar vein, we recommend that you keep your desk tidy. When your desk’s a mess, your mind’s a mess! 

Clutter is known to provoke stress and decrease productivity. Try to maintain a minimalist workspace and you’ll already feel more zen and inclined to working.

Stick to a regular routine with your studies and don’t overdo it. Consistency is the key to success in most things in life, and studying is no different. 

Sticking to a routine gives you a sense of control over your workload and in turn improves your stress response.


Let your hair down

Ok, so you have lots of deadlines and a mountain of assignments to complete. At such times all you want to do is lock yourself in your room and power through until everything is done.

But….that might not necessarily be the most productive way to go about things.

Taking breaks from studying is essential for retaining information. You need to give your mind time to rest and absorb the information.

Going out for a meal or drinks with friends and family is a great way to replenish your energy stocks and relieve stress and anxiety.


Get your kicks the natural way

We’re not trying to be party poppers here, but…hear us out.

Alcohol is great, in moderation. A drink or two even reduces stress. But If you’re out partying several nights a week you’re going to feel the adverse effects pretty quickly. 

We’re not just talking hangovers here. It’s a fact that alcohol is a depressant, and has a definite impact on mood and energy levels. 

If you’ve ever felt low on a Monday morning and wondered why, perhaps alcohol could be the culprit.

Something similar can be said for caffeine. Although coffee does give you a huge energy burst, that’s short-lived and what comes after is an energy slump.

You’d do much better having a balanced diet with lots of water and fresh fruit juices.

Needless to say, drugs are a no-no if you’re serious about maintaining good mental health and a successful study schedule.


Positive vibes only

Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking. Think about it. The thoughts that run through your mind, your self-talk, are with you 24 hours a day. 

If you only think negative thoughts, it’s only logical that you’re going to end up feeling bad.

The contrary is also true. Optimists tend to attract positive people and good things into their lives. 

Starting with positive daily affirmations, you could change your life from the inside out.


Reach out

We all get a little stressed sometimes. If you find that everything is getting on top of you, it’s best not to keep it to yourself.

Open up to a good friend or family member about how you feel will reassure you that you’re not alone. 

An understanding ear works wonders and even just having a good cry can release pent up emotional tension.

Universities normally have counselling services or support groups for students who are struggling.  

Whether it be problems with budgeting or your first proper break-up, the professionals are there to help you to manage.

Don’t feel ashamed to talk about the pressures you may be feeling. Your mental wellbeing should be a priority for you. 

Besides, the counsellors have heard it all before anyway. No need to feel embarrassed!

With the help of a good coping strategy to manage stress you’ll be much better equipped to navigate any rough patches you might encounter along the way.


Get your beauty sleep

One of the most effective ways to beat stress is to get a good night’s sleep.

Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and take naps if you feel like you’re struggling to absorb information.

Resist the temptation to scroll through your social media feeds while in bed at night. 

Overstimulation will prevent you from falling asleep which will only lead to grogginess and tiredness the next day.


Relaxation techniques

We often carry stress in our bodies, in the form of muscle tension. You might not even be aware of how much tension you’re carrying in your body until you let it go.

A great way to get rid of that wound-up feeling is through practising relaxation techniques.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an effective way to release tension. It involves tensing and relaxing all of the muscles in your body. 

Lots of people use this technique to relax before sleeping, and could even be useful to rid yourself of pre-exam nerves.

Another way to tranquilise a stress response is to practise breathing exercises. This can be done anywhere and really does calm you down. 

Even in the exam hall you can reduce anxiety by the simple act of inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

Healthy body, healthy mind

If you feel stressed, regular exercise is an amazing way to blow off steam and release endorphins into your system, improving your physical and mental health.

Something as simple as going for a walk, run, or a cycle can make all the difference to your energy levels and motivation. 

Eat healthily

Alongside a regular exercise routine, you should also eat well to boost your brainpower. 

A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and protein will help you to manage stress as you’ll have more physical strength to cope with challenges that come your way.

If you find it hard to keep track of what you’re eating (believe it or not, some people forget to eat!), maybe try cooking with your housemates. Turning cooking into a social activity will give you the incentive to keep it up.


Good accommodation

Last but not least, having a good relationship with your housemates and feeling at home is of supreme importance for your emotional wellbeing. 

If you have problems at home, then you’re very swiftly going to feel stressed and anxious and very isolated.

At Novel we aim to take care of our students with all of their needs and build a positive healthy, stress-free, living environment for you. After all, if you can’t relax at home, where can you? 


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