Dealing with Stress in Six Simple Steps

Dealing with Stress in Six Simple Steps

Dealing with stress at university can be hard, and it’s easy to let anxiety get the better of you. Here are six methods of mine to help you manage…

Not to state the obvious here, but uni is stressful. Contending with new deadlines every couple of weeks, constant revision, internships and extra reading has become second nature to most of us, and if you’re anything like me, an unhealthy caffeine consumption is probably 95% of the reason you’re even still coping at all.

Most of the time we try not to think about it too much, because that just gives us more stress to stress about, but eventually it can all get a bit too much. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am completely guilty of sitting at my desk, looking at all the work I need to do (without actually doing any of it) and just going into a blind panic. It’s normal, but it doesn’t help you fix the problem. Here are six methods I use to stop the panic and deal with the stress so I can get myself back on track…

1. Get up and go outside

Okay, so for me personally, a run is my go to way of dealing with the stress of the day. There’s nothing quite like finding a big stretch of land, blasting whatever loud, angry music takes your fancy, and having half an hour of just running to make you feel better. But even just a walk is a fantastic way of getting some head space and gaining some perspective. There’s no end to the good some fresh air, peace and quiet and pretty scenery can do, and I guarantee you’ll come back with a fresh perspective. (Okay, so maybe not every time, but at the very least it gives you a break, and you’ll probably see something worth posting on Instagram.)

Dealing with Stress in Six Simple Steps

2. Make a cup of tea

So not exactly revolutionary, but stay with me. We’ve all been preached to about the magical, stress reducing properties of herbal teas (if you’re looking for one to try, I recommend lemon balm,) but the drink itself doesn’t really matter. When I get anxious, the act of making a cup of tea (boiling the water, waiting for it to diffuse,) soothes me- it literally forces me to spend a couple of minutes doing nothing but just waiting, and more often than not that’s enough to calm me down. Just please make sure it’s decaffeinated. The last thing you need is more energy.

3. Pets

Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person or both (like me,) you can’t deny that seeing a happy, fluffy little face is a sure-fire way of making you smile. Studies show that pets do actually reduce anxiety (how could they not?) and loads of universities have started using pet therapy as part of their student well-being programmes. So when you’re feeling stressed and there’s one in the vicinity, go and hug it. Immediately. I promise it will help.

Dealing with Stress in Six Simple Steps
Living on campus, I don’t get to see Dudley every day, but when I go home to visit he’s an instant mood booster.

4. Write it down

I can’t emphasise enough how important keeping a journal has been in helping me when managing anxiety and dealing with stress. Not only does it give me a way of organising all of my thoughts and emotions at the end of the day, but its a great way of getting my anger out. No one reads it but me, so I can say what I like. But, as much as I recommend it, keeping a journal isn’t the only way writing can help: drawing up a revision timetable or making to do lists are also super helpful for collecting your thoughts. We tend to be less stressed about things when we can see them on paper.

5. Talk to your friends

This is Bethany and Alix, my two favourite sources of gossip. Our method of spending 4/5 weeknights on one of our bedroom floors, drinking tea and nattering away may not work for everybody, but the fact remains: when dealing with stress, talking to your friends helps.  That’s not to say you have to unload all of your problems on them. Even if its just spending five minutes talking in the kitchen on your way out, it’ll take your mind off the stress, you can take a minute to laugh and chances are you’ll realise that whatever you’re worrying about isn’t the only thing going on in the world, or even the most important.

Dealing with Stress in Six Simple Steps
A typical evening in our student flat

6. Breathe

The simplest (and usually most effective) method of dealing with stress. When there’s not much else to be done, you can do it immediately and wherever you are. Take a moment and just breathe.