Stress and Anxiety
University can be a very exciting time with lots of growth and change, but with that can come feelings of stress or anxiety. It is understandable if you feel overwhelmed when you think about starting university, academic demands, exams, living with people you don’t know, making friends, managing your finances or thinking about your future. It’s a lot and that’s ok, we’ve got ways to support you through it.
Stress is a very natural feeling, designed to help us cope in challenging situation – it pushes us to work harder and do better but sometimes we can feel too stressed and unable to manage or cope with this. It can affect our mood, our body and our relationships; it can leave us feeling anxious, irritable and negatively impact our self-esteem.
Ask yourself, how do you manage stress? It’s good to know this so you know how it affects you and why. For instance, you may feel angry, tearful, worried or unable to make decisions. You may be experiencing stomach issues, headaches, muscle pain or skin rashes. You may have noticed differences in how much you eat or exercise, how frequently you drink, smoke or take other substances and how often you see people or do the things you normally do.
Stress is unfortunately unavoidable so we need to learn how to handle it productively to avoid bigger problems in the future. The internet is a great resource for relaxation techniques and videos. Other activities you can try include something creative (reading, writing, drawing, listening to music), spending time outside, reminding yourself of your positive attributes and strengths, watching a funny movie. Exercising and utilising your social resources (spending time with friends and family or getting involved in community clubs and classes) are also good hobbies to help you build resilience from stress.
Anxiety, like stress, is a natural human response and can be experienced in our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Anxiety is our response to being worried or afraid and helps us protect ourselves from danger, but sometimes anxiety can be detrimental to us and become a mental health problem if it impacts our ability to live our daily lives. Mind have listed a lot of symptoms of anxiety and have lots of information of panic attacks, disorders, self-care and treatment.
The NHS have lots of great resources and advice for student-specific stress.
Every Mind Matters also have lots of great guidance for stress in general.
Mind also have lots of information on managing student life and mental health.
If you’re struggling to cope with stress or feeling your anxiety is impacting your daily life, we really encourage to reach out your GP, the Student Health Centre or the Wellbeing Services.