One of our Wellbeing Champions, Tamzin, shares some strategies for dealing with stress this International Stress Awareness Week.
Stress is part of modern life. Four out of ten people in the UK say that it is a big problem for them. It is actually one of the most common reasons for people seeing their GP. Stress is a modern epidemic and once it takes hold it can be difficult to shake off. Even though it is common, people are often not aware of it, and may find it hard to accept.
When under stress you can often feel as if you are losing control over your life and that you can’t cope with things everyone else seems to cope with.
Stress can affect anyone and everyone – young or old, male or female, rich or poor, outgoing or shy. You are not weak, inadequate, slow or stupid because you experience stress…Stress is normal.
The Wellbeing Team are running a hotspot for Stress Awareness Week where you can come along, have a chat and pick up tips for dealing with stress:
Wednesday 7 November, 12:30-14:00, Students’ Union
Here are some tips for managing your stress:
1. Get organised
Whether it’s a work issue or university assignments are piling up, get organised and make a list of all the things you have to get done and when by. This seems like an obvious step but it can be quite daunting if the list is very long.
Crossing completed things off this list can be hugely rewarding. If you have everything written down you can stop going over it in your head, sometimes just getting it down on paper can help immensely.
2. Take some time for yourself
Another seemingly obvious step in tackling stress but sometimes when the busy lifestyle takes over you feel you have no time to stop, but this is a really important aspect of stress management.
Even if it’s a ten minute break for a cup of tea and a magazine or even better a mindful walk, we all need time to ourselves. It is okay to slow down and watch the world go by sometimes.
3. Recognise your stress triggers
An important part of dealing with stress is understanding what tips you over the edge into that stress pit, it might be driving on a road you do not know or doing a presentation; either way, recognising what really gets to you means you can begin to deal with it.
If you know you have to drive somewhere you have never been before, do a practice run or leave with plenty of time to get lost. As for presentations (not many people enjoy these anyway), get organised and be prepared.
Know what you will say well in advance and prepare for any questions you may have to answer.
4. Avoid too much caffeine
Try not to rely too much on coffee to get you through. Using caffeine as a crutch is something most working people are guilty of, but the side effects of caffeine echo those of stress so be aware! You should not be over 300mg a day of caffeine, and one more trip to Starbucks might put you over the limit.
5. Sort the basics
Sleep and eat. If you not getting enough sleep or are eating on-the-go fast-food then this may add to your stress. Make a routine of putting your phone away at least half an hour before bed and keep a list by your bed that you can add to in order to stop late night worries.
As for food, try to cook from scratch. It might take more time but it can be a good way to take your mind off things and bring in some self-care.
6. Learn to manage stress with our help
Stress is relatively unavoidable, so learning to manage it effectively has great benefits.
You can access our self-help resources at any time online to learn strategies to manage stress yourself.
Alternatively, there are a range of workshops, courses and groups that deal with recognising stress and managing it effectively.
Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service
The university’s Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service is available to provide support for anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, including if you are struggling with any issue relating to coming out, your sexual orientation or your gender identity.
The team offers bookable appointments via an online self-referral form, as well as a daily Drop-In Service called ‘Wellbeing Drop-In’, between 15:00-15:45, Monday–Friday and on Wednesday mornings between 09:30-10:15 at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place.
All of the staff will listen, without judgement, and offer support in a safe, confidential space.
Tazmin, Wellbeing Champion
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.