Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month?
We all get stressed from time to time, and you may find that you feel stressed at university for a number of reasons, for example around exam time and as deadlines approach, if you're having money issues, accommodation concerns and more. But have you ever stopped to think about what stress actually is and how it is caused?
Stress is your body's natural reaction to situations where you may be under a lot of pressure, it can be either short term or long term, and it is a normal part of our lives when we get stressed every now and again. However, it is important that we are able to know what stress is, and how to respond to it to protect our mental health and physical wellbeing.
Stress is something that affects students, more than most people. This is because usually they have just moved out of home for the first time, are adjusting to a new city, education system, and lifestyle and often they are living far away from those who are within their usual support system, like their family and friends.
For students, it is important to recognise the signs of stress, including:
Each of these signs, along with many others, could have a negative impact on your wellbeing which can then affect your studies, relationships and so on, so it is important for you to be aware of how to manage your stress levels to prevent any problems.
When you are feeling stressed, it is important to use coping methods or find a way to fix or change the situation that is making you stressed. As everyone is different, different things work for different people.
Getting enough sleep and having a regular sleeping pattern is vital in order for you to establish a good daily routine, and a good routine for university life, but it is also important to maintain good health. It is recommended that adults get around 8 hours of sleep a night, so aim for this and you'll most likely feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
As you know, exercise has positive affects on people's physical health, but it is also important for our mental health. This is because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These are neurotransmitters, but are often referred to as hormones. When they are released, they are able to increase positivity, boost your mood and even reduce pain. Try going on a walk or run, or do a home workout. There are lots of videos online to suit everyone, and you could even try yoga. Yoga is good for dealing with stress, and there are also high intensity yoga workouts if you want a good workout.
Strangely, what you eat and drink can have a big impact on your mood and stress levels. It is advised to steer away from having a lot of carbohydrates and sugary foods and drinks when you are feeling stressed. Foods such as fatty fish, fruit and vegetables, nuts, dark chocolate and eggs are said to be good for boosting your memory and brain, so try eating some of these when you're revising. Not having enough water can also affect your mood, so make sure you're drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated throughout the day (the NHS recommends 6-8 glasses a day and even more in hot weather or when exercising).
We have put together a number of resources which could help you deal with your stress; these include videos, workouts, crafts and more that you can easily do at home.
We also have an Advice Centre at the Students' Union where we can help with a range of different issues you may face whilst at university.
Student Advice Centre