Tuesday 15 May 2018

Combating University Stress

Lucy shares her views on university stress and her methods of combating it.
- Lucy

Stress is something we have all probably experienced before. It seems to be a natural part of university life that we just put up with. Although that is the case, it can be very frustrating and exhausting and a lot of the time actually limits the amazing things we are capable of.

Of course, it is incredibly important to work hard and do your absolute best, but I don’t think we should have to suffer so much as a consequence.

Stress is something I have suffered with throughout my four years at University. It is also something that I have never been all that great at coping with either. All it does is worsen my anxiety, causing me to shut myself out from the world, as it was previously the only coping mechanism I know.

This is why I think talking about stress, and sharing tips and techniques we all use in our daily lives to combat it is so important. We all may be using certain ways to help ourselves, and someone else may find these tips incredibly useful too! Therefore, I am going to use this blog post to talk about a few of the methods I have used throughout university to help me cope with the stress.

1. Go for a walk. If I feel myself starting to get stressed, I like to get away from the work and go for a walk. Although it can be difficult to allow myself the time to do this, it always works wonders at clearing my head and putting me in a better position to get back to work again.

2. Read, write, be creative! Another way that works to reduce my stress, is to distract my mind from the work and do something creative. I study Psychology, which consists of a lot of academic papers and complicated statistic calculations. Therefore, it can easily become very exhausting. Therefore, doing something creative de-stresses my mind, whether this be through reading a fictional book or doing some writing of my own.

3. Have a relaxing evening to wind down. At the end of a long stressful day of essay writing, the thing I love most is to take the evening to relax and wind down. To do this, I run a hot bath, light some candles in my room, make a cup of tea, and snuggle down to watch whatever Netflix series I am currently binging. This is such an easy way to clear my mind of all the stressful and overwhelming thoughts that have built up throughout the day. It allows me to refocus my attention on things other than my work and to take some time for myself. During this time, I also like to switch my phone off, so I can fully shut myself out from any distractions and just focus on me. Times like this are when it’s important to be selfish!

4. Talk to someone. This is one of the things I probably find the hardest to do but it’s also the most effective. I’ve learned that it doesn’t always have to be the deepest of chats - it can just be as simple as talking to someone who understands what you are going through. Having friends who do the same course as you makes this super easy to do. Whenever I’m feeling stressed over an assignment, I’ll pick up my phone and text a friend, and chances are, they are feeling the exact same way! There is something about having someone who can totally relate to your experience that can prevent you from feeling alone in that suffering. As a result, this is a key way that I manage to alleviate my stress.

Although stress has become such a natural part of university life, it shouldn’t have to be so intense. I believe that we should all allow ourselves some time in the day to focus on us, to ensure we don’t let the stress take over. We are capable of so much and if we can find the balance between working hard and looking after ourselves, then nothing can stop us!

Hello! I'm Lucy, a Clinical Psychology Masters student at Anglia Ruskin University! Through studying Psychology and experiencing life as a student, I have become incredibly passionate about mental health and helping to make a positive change. I have been volunteering for Student Minds for the past 2 years as a Peer Support Facilitator at my university, and have been the Editor of the Student Minds blog since June 2017.

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