Stress at university – How to cope

Starting university can be an exciting but intimidating experience for many. Feeling a little stress or anxiety at this time is a completely natural emotion. A 2015 article by the BBC revealed that there is an annual 10% rise in the number of students seeking counselling services, largely due to stress and anxiety.

There are many reasons why you could be stressed at this time. You may feel yourself having to venture further outside out of your comfort zone than you ever have, meeting a lot of new people in a completely new environment. For those who are moving out, it may be your first time living away from home.

Rising university costs have also meant financial stress is a common concern. Many students feel a huge pressure to achieve high results academically to justify the expensive costs of attending university. Then there is the added stress of facing the competitive job market upon graduation.

Making new friends is a large part of the university experience. You will meet people from various cultures with different personalities, and this can be stressful, particularly for the more shy personalities amongst us. To deal with any social anxiety, talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy can be extremely effective.

You will also find yourself being inundated with a higher volume of work than ever before, most of which you are expected to manage yourself without as much facetime with your tutors as you are used to. To cope with stress related to studying, it can be helpful to have a study buddy, and keep on top of your deadlines.

At university, it can also be tempting to fall into an unhealthy lifestyle. Late nights at the library, too many nights out, eating too much fast food, and an excessive alcohol intake are common occurrences for most university students. Try and resist falling into bad habits, as sleeping well, eating healthy, and reducing your alcohol intake can help avoid falling behind in your work and keeping stress levels at a minimum.

It is important to know how to deal with any stress at the first sign of any symptom, before it descends into further health problems such as insomnia or lack of appetite. You should try to understand and pinpoint the reason why you are feeling stressed or anxious. There may be a variety of reasons, or it may be one factor in particular which is contributing to your stress. Awareness of the issue is the first step in learning how to deal with it.

If you’re finding it difficult to deal with stress on your own, then seek expert support as soon as possible so you can learn to cope as best you can and fully enjoy your university experience.