Dealing with stress at university (Toby)

On paper, starting university has the potential to be a very stressful life experience.  

You’ve probably moved to a new place, surrounded by strangers and are trying to survive on a tight budget all while trying to handle the work pressure a university requires.

Stress is natural. It helps us cope when life becomes a bit challenging. In small amounts, it helps you. It pushes you to overcome the challenge that is causing said stress. However, it shouldn’t overtake your life. If you start to feel too stressed and don’t try anything to relax yourself, you’ll just end up burning out.

You need to escape the cycle of stress. Stress can cause several physical and psychological problems that will not help any situation at all.So, this is me saying it’s time to RELAX. Pop open a glass of bubbly and run a bath because you need to CALM DOWN. Much like our girl Oprah.

If it’s work that’s bringing you down, it’s time to take a step back because I can guarantee you are overestimating how much work you actually have to do. NEVER list everything you have to do. Lists are literally designed to make it seem like you have more to do than there actually is. 

Be the panda and push it all way.

Now, let’s think about ONE thing you have to do. Just one. Now break that down. Break it down again. And again.

Break it down into millions of tiny little pieces. Now complete one of the little pieces. You’ve now just done some work.

Procrastinating will just lead to more stress so just keep your work small. Keep it manageable and eventually, just like magic, you’ll put all the tiny little pieces together. 

One of the most important things you need to remember is you are allowed to relax. You are allowed breaks, days off and time to relax. Never deny yourself enjoyment because of what’s around the corner. 

  Take regular, short breaks every 15 minutes. I usually just scroll on social media for five minutes. Then every few hours or so take a big break, I usually go to the gym or have a meal while watching Netflix. 

And remember, you’re at university. Take advantage! Talk to your tutors, use the library, join a study group, etc. Just don’t put off your work and don’t rush – it’s all going to be okay. 

Studying isn’t the only stressor at university. So is socialising. 

I personally despise socialising. I actively avoid it because my introverted self loves being alone. If you’re anything like me,here’s a reminder that it’s okay to say no to things you don’t want to do. If you’re not like me, and want to socialise then FINE.

If you need to make friends, just sit next to someone in your lecture and start talking. People want to make friends just as much as you do. It’s new and exciting. Invite them for coffee. Go to parties. Join a club. You just need to put yourself out there. 

The saddest thing about stress is the toll it can take on mental health. You need to silence your inner critic. Everyone struggles at university from time to time and everyone gets through it. Don’t make it worse by attacking yourself. Give yourself credit for how hard you have worked to get to where you are now – not everyone can even make it into university.

Remain positive, practice self-care (I choose singing,playing games and watching Grey’s Anatomy.) and most importantly – have fun. 

If you’re still struggling, make sure to seek professional help. Seek out the counselling service, your tutors or in times of crisis the NHS. These services are here to help you. 

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