Term started up even later this year, which means quite a few of us are already starting to worry about upcoming assessments. Regardless if you’re a fresher, a second, third, or even fourth year, getting adjusted to the amount of reading and work you need to do is never as easy as it seems. Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Here are some great tips to keep your stress levels down.
1. Stay organised
Get a diary or use the calendar on your e-mail, laptop or phone, and put in all your seminars, lectures and assessment dates so you know well in advance when your busiest weeks are. Essays can creep up on you before you know it, so get into the habit of frequently updating and checking your calendar.
2. Have a ‘library day’
Pick one day of the week where you dedicate most of the day to working or reading. It sounds intense but it gets stuff out of the way and keeps you on top of your workload, leaving you free to do something more fun when you don’t have to be on campus! If it seems daunting to go by yourself, get some friends to go with you. Having them there is not only comforting, but encouraging as well.
3. Quit complaining and do something
If you spend half the amount of time you might spend complaining and whining about how much work you have, you’ll probably be done in no time.
“If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper, health expert at the University of Lancaster, in a discussion about stress with the NHS. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”
4. Eat well and exercise
Some think it’s a myth that studying or working makes you hungry, but a study in Psychosomatic Medicine shows that thinking causes your glucose and insulin levels to fluctuate. Eat small meals and snacks when working to boost your energy levels and prevent overeating—use it as an opportunity to reward yourself!
You should also do some exercise, even if it is just making the choice to walk to campus rather than taking the bus. Thinking might make you hungry but it also means your intake of food becomes higher, so you’ll need to exercise to counteract that. Kill two birds with one stone; exercise will leave you feeling re-energised and more relieved.
5. Take breaks and sleep
Take frequent breaks—go for a small walk or watch a short video to keep you going. Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep. It’s better to go to sleep early and get up earlier in the morning than staying up till 3am studying and being tired and more stressed the next day.
6. Put down that coffee!
Cut back on the soft drinks and coffee. Caffeine might be good for a few hours but then you’ll crash. It has been proven that caffeine can stimulate a stress reaction in your body, so if you do have to have that cuppa in the morning, make up for it by drinking water for the rest of the day.
7. Go out
Sometimes the best thing to do when you are super stressed is to head out for a meal, a movie or a chilled night out. If everything is really getting you down, spend some of the day trying to do some work, and then hit the town with a friend and have some fun. Doing something that doesn’t involve being cooped up in your room can make all the difference in helping you de-stress.
8. Mind over matter
Just hang in there until deadlines are over. Stay positive and trust that you can get everything done. It isn’t the end of the world, you’re young and at university! Make the most of your degree but make sure you appreciate and organise your time so that you don’t miss out on everything else that student life has to offer.
Do you have any useful tips on how to relieve stress? Share them in the comments below or tweet us @HCNottingham.