Managing Stress at University

Suffering from stress at university is very common, in fact around 65% of students suffer from significant stress and university counsellors are seeing year on year increases of up to 20% according to the University of Reading.

Actually, if you think about it, university holds a lot of opportunities to get stressed from start to finish; thinking about leaving for university and missing parents and siblings, arriving at university and starting your course through to exams, your future and relationships.

The good news is, that when you feel down there are lots of ways to alleviate stress as part of your daily routine, which can help reduce the chances of it escalating in to something more serious.

1. A varied and healthy diet - just what your Mum would say
Getting your vitamin C daily – lots of fruit and vegetables. Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. Juices filled with vitamin C, orange or grapefruit juice are good for you and boost your immune system so it can help combat stress.

Cooking can be very sociable and quite therapeutic too, plus home cooked food rather than pre-prepared meals are much healthier. Look at the ingredients of a frozen pizza and see the E numbers but pizzas are actually quite easy to make from scratch. Cook for your friends and make an event of it.

2. Sleeping
Student life can be very exciting but remember to sleep. It helps concentration in lectures, increases productivity and allows you to enjoy your leisure time more. Taking a siesta isn’t the worst thing you can do, unless you do it in a lesson!

3. Get offline
Students spend a lot of time on social media talking about life rather than doing it! Try and balance your time between both.
If you are a gamer, you may spend a lot of time playing with friends online, although it may be fun, remember real life can be fun too. A sedentary life isn’t a healthy life. We are humans and like and enjoy human contact.

4. Exercise
Doing sport at the very minimum of once a week will reduce stress. Your body produces endorphins when you exercise, which make you feel good. Whether you walk for 30 minutes every day or work out intensively, both will reduce stress. The more active you are, the better you will feel. Forcing yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel like it, will make you feel even better afterwards.

Joining a gym or sports club could also help with stress. Yoga is a great way to ease your mind and body.

4. Regular breaks
Short breaks between working can help you switch off from your workload but also spending time off campus, for a weekend say, can help you cope with stress and come back feeling refreshed.

5. Learning from mistakes
As a student and in life we all make mistakes. If you learn from them then they are part of the rich tapestry of life. For example, if you missed a deadline, you learn that next time you should plan ahead. Things might seem bad, but if you try, there is usually something positive to be learned and it can help reduce stress next time round.

6. Quit smoking – despite popular belief, it doesn’t relax you
The European Board for Research for Nicotine and Tobacco researchers suggest that nicotine suppresses the hormone serotonin, which fights stress. Another good reason to quit – if you needed any more reasons.

7. Listen to music
Listening to music can help calm you down and put you in a better frame of mind. Put on your favourite tracks and dance like nobody is watching! Alternatively put on some relaxing music and just chill, just depends on your mood.

8. Laughing
Laughing out loud increases oxygen to the body and increases blood flow which automatically reduces stress.

9. Talk to someone
If something is worrying you, just talking about it can make the problem seem much smaller. Do not let things build up inside. Perhaps tell a friend, or if not, go and find the university counsellor. They are really experienced in helping students deal with stress; that is what they are there for.

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