Student life can be considered the best time of your life. Life at university and especially on campus gives you the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, have lots of fun and experience life!
Although some are trilled about university life, others may consider it stressful. As a student, you might feel like you have to achieve something and make plans for your future. Instead of relaxing during the holidays, you might be planning an internship to add to your CV, or working to earn some extra cash. If you’re not careful, working too hard and worrying too much can lead to “burnout”. It is important to understand what causes study related stress and how to overcome it.
Don’t let study related stress get the best of you!
Here are some ideas for dealing with the stresses of studying so that you can have more room for the fun!
Manage financial support
University life tends to be more expensive with all the tuition fees, books, boarding costs and so on. Some students have a part-time job to help with these costs, but at times it can be really difficult to balance finding enough time to study and work. Don’t worry – there are also various scholarship options around! Find the right scholarship options for you and make sure you are eligible for them. Study Advisory also offers scholarships, so go and check them out here.
The distance between you and your home and family might cause stress. You might be enjoying your newfound freedom, but there are always moments of homesickness when you realise you are really on your own. Prepare yourself mentally for the fact that you need to take care of yourself on campus – this will give you positive energy and alleviate stress. You are now growing older which means you need to face the challenges that life sends your way. Consider all your friends as your family who support you and enjoy every moment you are in university!
Spend time with your roommates
You may end up sharing dorm room with others. At first it might cause you some stress, but learn to adjust to having roommates. At the beginning it might be difficult but try to understand other peoples’s behaviour and habits. As time goes on and you get to know each other, start spending quality time together. You will find that some of your best experiences can be with the company of your roommates!
Learning to make new friends is a skill one needs to learn to become surrounded by the right people. Get to know your fellow students from the day you arrive. Getting new friends social helps you understand various challenges and broadens your worldview. Having friends is also handy when you need to “vent” about situations that bring on stressful feelings. Make sure that you don’t focus only on negative experiences; try to also think of at least three things that are going well for you, and share those experiences with your buddies.
Attempting to maintain academic success is another major reason for study related stress. As GPA scores play an important role in your career path, which puts more pressure on students to score more. To avoid this pressure, spend some spare time to understand the basics of subjects. Go beyond textbook knowledge and try to apply the concepts you learn into a practical manner.
There will be lots of competition among students. Try to use this competition as an opportunity to familiarise yourself with your skills and knowledge. When you have a positive view towards competition, university life will feel less stressful and more fun and fulfilling. So, work hard, get good grades, get along with your peers and have fun with them – and this way your days in university will be the best part of your life!
Balanced social life
Your newfound freedom can harm you if you don’t control the amount of your social activities enough. There will be numerous activities to join – you can get involved in all of these, but ensure your academic performance will not suffer because of this. And try not to spend too much time on social media sites and answering emails, texts and phone calls. Remember to sign off from social media every now then since even though socialising is fun, too much of it and too much computer time can lead to more study related stress. Consider every day as a new experience and be responsible with your activities.
Organise your work
At university you need to learn how to organise your work and make decisions on your own. Being responsible is the first step towards life as an adult. Be prepared that your life will change from what it used to be before starting at university. Know your priorities and learn to balance your time for studies and fun.
Procrastinating to do things only increases your stress in the long run. Procrastination also can affect many aspects of your daily life, such as the quality of your work, the quality of your sleep, and your mood. Time management skills are the key to managing your responsibilities; accomplish your goals while still having time for rest and relaxation.
Realise your limits
You are not a robot that has unlimited amounts of energy to do things! Time, energy, skills, knowledge and other things can be limiting causes. Realise that we all have our limits, and learn to work within your limits. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others – we are all human!
Recognise what kind of thoughts you have that cause you study related stress. If your mind continuously feeds you messages about what you “should” achieve, “ought” to be, or “mustn’t” do, you are falling short with your goals which may be unrealistic – and this causes a lot of stress. It is good to learn to set realistic goals and to replace unrealistic thoughts with more realistic ones.
Students who do not sleep well have more stress. Sleeping is important, and it not only recharges your body, but also develops stronger immunity. Sleep deprivation can cause many physical and mental problems and can increase stress. It affects also your ability to think about, respond to and judge situations. Ensure that you are well rested by following regular a sleeping pattern that includes a set bedtime and a set waking time. Strive for at least eight hours of sleep every day.
People who eat a balanced diet with healthy eating habits tend to feel less stress. Avoid poisoning your body with junk food since it can be high in fat and sugar which helps raise your stress level. Limit (or eliminate) the use of stimulants like caffeine and energy drinks, which can elevate the stress response in your body. Foods that are rich in fibre and low in fat tend to do the opposite. Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. Juices filled with vitamin C, such as orange, are said to be good for your immune system and can help with stress. Do not skip breakfast! When you’re busy and tired it can be tempting just to grab another pizza or ready made meal, but cooking can be therapeutic as well as being a healthier option. Have a varied and healthy diet and your body will thank you!
Exercise can help you burn off the energy generated by study related stress. It helps your body produce endorphins, which have been shown to improve one’s mood, making it a great way to deal with stress! Intensive physical activity at least once a week or daily walks of 30 minutes can help reduce stress levels. Believe it or not, yoga is also a great way to ease your mind and relax your muscles. Exercise regularly – even if you don’t feel like it at the time, you will feel the benefits afterwards!
It might sound simple, but sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day can really reduce your study related stress. Good breathing techniques can put you in a more relaxed state helping to calm you down and beat your stress. If you’ve never tried meditation before, give it a chance.
Be good to yourself!
Embrace yourself for the good things you do! Be kind to yourself when things don’t always go as you might have wanted them to. You know, there are just some things that are out of your control — no matter how much you want them to. In case you are feeling study related stress due to a missed a deadline, try to appreciate what you have learned from this mistake: now you know how to plan ahead! Things might seem bad, but usually there is something positive to be learned there. Love yourself for who you are every single moment of your life!
Take breaks regularly
It’s important to take breaks and pace yourself throughout the day. Actually it’s critical to your success that you take time to rest — away from your desk! So during breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind. Listening to music can help calm you down. If you’re feeling stressed, listening some calming music while working could really help. Short breaks can help you switch off, but longer breaks are important too. How about taking the weekend off to relax?
Some people say they smoke to relax, but several research studies suggest that nicotine actually suppresses the hormone serotonin, which naturally fights stress. Instead of smoking, get some fresh air!
They say that laughter is the best medicine and a great tension-reducer – it’s really true! Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow, which automatically reduces stress. Find the humour in your life! Not taking life too seriously can help to live a better and easier life.
Start a journal or a blog
Many people find having a journal or a blog to record their daily thoughts is helpful for managing study related stress, understanding emotions, and making decisions and changes in their lives, so why not to try to have one of your own?
There’s only so much time in this life so every moment of it is precious. Enjoy your life both during and outside your studies. When you do, you’ll find you have less study related stress, and that you’re more productive. Look for the good/sweet/fun/amazingness in every situation, even when life seems less than fair. It’s about time that students accept that they can achieve just as much in life without all the added stress.
Check out more of our tips and tricks for your studies!