Monday 2 November 2015

How I manage my stress at University

It’s National Stress Awareness Day on Wednesday 4th November. In light of this, one of our bloggers writes about how stress is a common part of university life, and how it can be helpful to know how to manage it.  
                                                                                                                                    - Sophie Dishman

Stress is something that we all go through whether we are in university or not. It can be exacerbated by university - deadlines, assignments, having a social life and doing extra-curricular activities - not being organised…they can all take their toll and lead to a bout of stress that no-one wants. Things can build up and without talking about it, it can become a challenge and turn into a breakdown.

But there are many ways I've found that have helped me deal with stress:   

1.    Be organised. Organisation doesn’t stop me from becoming run-down but it certainly helps me keep on top of things at university and in my personal life. 

I write things down in my diary and use coloured sticky notes for different things. Blue if I need to contact someone, green for tasks for university or things I’m involved in and purple for remembering things – e.g. buy equipment. The best thing is that I can move my sticky notes around, so I don’t feel like I have to do something on a certain day. If something comes up, I can be flexible. If something has a date next to it then unfortunately it has to stick permanently.

This way I am aware of deadlines and what’s coming up so I can plan other commitments around them.   Since using this method, I haven’t become stressed. I used it in the third semester of university and from September this year since starting my new journalism course. I now feel organised and as if I am able to manage my time effectively and know that I won’t burn out.

2.    Don’t take on too much. Many people tell me this, I understand it can be hard to hear as a I have a lot of commitments but it’s important. If you take on too much then you can become stressed because of the expectations that you ultimately had control over in the first place. There’s a word that you and I should use - the word “no”. This word is very powerful and can stop you from feeling overwhelmed. You don’t have to take an opportunity right now - it may come around again. If it isn’t meant to be - then it isn’t meant to be.

3.    Talking to people helps. Communicating when things are getting a bit tough can stop the situation in its tracks. You can stop it before it gets worse. You can talk to people who can give you advice on what to do.

4.    It’s all about time management. Maybe start that assignment earlier instead of going out? Plan your essays ahead of time, get books from the library before the assignment is due to be planned. Work out the way of managing your time that suits you best.

5.    Have some “me time” everyday, if you can. At best a few times a week. This may be going out for a run, to the gym, out with friends or watching Netflix. I usually do some yoga, meditate or read a book (not the ones for my course!). Having time for yourself can help you relax and rewind and make you energised. You are taking a step back and helping yourself.

What do you do to minimise stress? Student Minds is running #StudentChats on our Twitter on National Stress Awareness Day with Anxiety UK, On Wednesday the 4th of November at 7pm. Get involved to share & learn tips on managing stress.

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