How to deal with academic stress to become a better you

How to deal with academic stress to become a better you

The gap between University and work can be quite daunting for students. You’re changing your routines and for some, leaving education to enter the world of work.  It’s your time to thrive and show your expertise in a new working environment. Yet, in the current climate looking into your future can be uncertain and anxiety-ridden. 

Different types of stress

Every student experiences different levels of stress that can vary from financial to social anxiety. According to Learn Psychology, there are three types of common stress: ‘acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic acute stress’. Acute stress is the most common form of stress and can be attributed to both positive and negative experiences, such as getting exam results as positive acute stress versus getting in a car accident as negative acute stress. Episodic acute stress is a type of stress that happens frequently when there is a continuous pattern of events that causes you to worry. Finally, chronic acute stress is seen as the ‘never-ending stress’ that is constant which can lead to further mental health problems.

Either of these types of stress can affect students, and individuals can have very different reactions to stress. These symptoms may include: headaches, irritable moods, anxiety, feeling like you can’t switch off, and changes to your lifestyle (such as your diet, smoking, and drinking alcohol). As a student, you can become vulnerable to stress, as for some you are in unfamiliar territory living at university with different expectations and independence set upon you.  How can you overcome the stresses of student life and beyond? 

Student stress relief

Whether your stress is focused on workload, finance, post-uni life, family expectations, or the social aspects of student life, there are steps everyone can follow to surpass the stress and worry. 

  1. Organisation. It might be easier said than done for some, as workloads can be overwhelming for many. But, organising your day or week can have a tremendous impact on your wellbeing. Don’t just plan your academic studies into your schedule, it is as important to plan self-care and wellbeing activities into your life too
  1. Time Management. A feature that comes with organisation is managing your time efficiently. Working around lectures and seminars can be hard, but making sure you’re in a positive environment e.g. the library workspace can have a huge effect on your learning and concentration. By managing your time, you can have an effective daily plan and allow time for yourself by doing so. 
  1. Setting goals. Setting clear and definitive goals for yourself can make you feel more motivated to achieve them. They don’t have to be grand goals, they can be the smallest achievements, but they will make you feel like you have accomplished something. If you struggle to set goals or celebrate your successes, we recommend the Daily Success Journal from Journals For Life.
  1. Taking breaks. Your mental health and wellbeing must be your priority. Taking efficient breaks away from studying also helps you to become more productive in the long run, as you’re allowing your mind to take respite from the constant workload.
  1. Take one step at a time. Whenever stress gets too overwhelming, just remember that you can only do one thing at a time. Organising your schedule is a feature of this, as it will help to decrease your anxiety about your workload and future events. 

Stress-relieving activities 

Meditation is a proven method of stress and anxiety relief. Introducing meditation into your day can allow time for yourself to clear your head and set your intentions for your day. It allows peace and mindfulness to enter your life. If you’re new to meditation, we recommend checking out our breathwork practice video

There has been scientific evidence that exercise reduces stress and anxiety. Even a 10-minute walk can positively affect your mindset. As a student, you may not prioritise exercise, due to your social life and workload. But focusing on your physical body can have a huge effect on your mental state. Taking in nature can always make you feel more present and mindful of your environment. Students can incorporate exercise into their flexible schedules easily allowing it to become a permanent feature in their lives and have a positive effect on their wellbeing too. 

Positive affirmations can create more mindfulness and positivity. VeryWellMind suggests: ‘the habit of optimism and positive thinking can bring better health, better relationships, and, yet better grades’. Establishing and manifesting your goals can help you to become more positive, therefore you are more likely to achieve your goals based on your optimism and affirmations.

Being a stressed student can consume you and your mental health. By applying the above methods to your schedule can ease your stress and anxiety and allow your life to become more positive and optimistic for your academic goals and beyond. If you need further advice or support, we have a course just for you launching on Aug. 3, titled Becoming a Better You, specifically designed for the next generation. Keep a look out.

Written by Rose Evans 

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