We’re nearing the end of the first term already and they do say time flies when you’re having fun. But between JCR meetings and Sports and Society meets, most of us are starting assignments and many third years will be working hard on dissertations. This is where university isn’t always quite so fun, in fact in fact can be pretty stressful. Now, don’t get me wrong stress can be good, as it can keep us safe from threats or motivate us to write that paper. However, too much stress can be detrimental for your physical and mental health, and even have a negative effect on your work. One thing I will say is don’t panic, even the most stressful situation can be dealt with, and here are some top tips to help!
Commons signs that you are starting to get too stressed include difficulty concentrating, feeling tense, or getting a headache. It is especially important to be aware of when you might be getting stressed if you already suffer from a mental health disorder, as stress can exacerbate your problems. However, stress is a normal response and everybody reacts in different ways. The important thing is to discover what stress-reducing activity works best for you. Things people often find helpful include:
- Having a healthy work-play balance – maybe join a society or play a sport, exercise can be a great way to burn off the extra energy created by stress and the endorphins it releases have a naturally relaxing and calming effect. But relaxing could be as simple as chatting with a friend or watching your favourite TV show
- Avoid procrastination! We’re all guilty of it I know, but assignments will be more stressful if you leave it to the last minute
- Take regular breaks to improve your concentration (every 30-40 minutes) and stay hydrated
- Eat and sleep well
- Try relaxation exercises or mindfulness, there are loads of free resources out there
- Keep organised, plan how long you will spend on studying and free time, and make a to-do list so you don’t forget anything important and prioritise those tasks that need completing first. Plus, it feels pretty satisfying when you cross things off your list!
Don’t forget to take time for yourself to relax and do things you enjoy. If you fancy relaxing with others or doing something crafty to take your mind off things, don’t forget Kit Kat Chit Chat 6-8pm on a Monday in central and every other Thursday at Hilton Cottage. There are free Kit Kats and trust me chocolate is the answer to everything. The session is run by fellow students in the Welfare team so it’s a perfect opportunity to meet new people. The team is there to talk to if you have any issues, but you don’t need to be experiencing any problems to come down, everyone is up for just a chat!
For anyone experiencing more severe problems, please remember you are not alone and both college and the university counselling service can provide help.