University can be a stressful experience, as well as being fun and exciting. You may feel stressed about starting university, exams, coursework deadlines, living with people you do not get on with, or thinking about the future.
Stress is a natural feeling, designed to help you cope in challenging situations. In small amounts it can be good, because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, such as during exams.
There are lots of possible signs of stress.
Stress can make you feel:
like you cannot enjoy yourself
worried a lot of the time
You may start to:
have sleep problems
find it hard to concentrate
bite your nails, pick your skin or grind your teeth
snap at people
feel short of breath or breathe very fast
Short periods of stress are normal and can often be resolved by something as simple as completing a task which cuts down your workload, or by talking to others and taking time to relax.
It might also help to:
Work out what it is that’s making you feel stressed. For example, is it exams, money or relationship problems? See if you can change your circumstances to ease the pressure you’re under.
Try to have a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get enough sleep, be physically active, cut down on alcohol, and take time to relax as well as working and studying.
Read about the 5 steps to mental wellbeing.
Avoid drugs, including lots of caffeine – this can have a negative impact on your stress levels and wellbeing.
Try not to worry about the future or compare yourself with others.
Try relaxation and breathing exercises.
Try to plan your time to help you keep track of your work. Break it down into manageable chunks so you can keep up with deadlines.
Try talking to a friend, tutor or someone in your family about your stress.
Read about how to cope with the stress of exams.
For more tips on beating stress, check out these 10 stress busters.
Find out more about anxiety, fear and panic.
The free mental wellbeing audio guides may help you when your mood is low or you’re facing an anxious time in your life.
You may want to consider getting help for stress if:
you’re struggling to cope with stress
things you’re trying yourself are not helping
stress is affecting your life or university work
You could try speaking to friends, family or your university tutor. A GP is also a good place to start and they can help you with advice or access to treatments if you need them.
Find out more about tackling student mental health issues.