26th October 2016

Stress: let’s talk about it

Struggling with stress? Don’t worry, Qiarna Bondswell is here with some top tips to help you tackle your stress head-on, and enjoy university life at the same time

So here you are, you’re a student at the University of Manchester and I’m sure you’ve heard all the clichés before you came here—“University will be the best years of your life!”, “University is where you meet your lifelong friends!”, “At university is where you find yourself!”, etc. However, for many students these sayings simply haven’t proven to be correct. Many new and returning students are simply struggling to keep up with assignments, make new friends, and deal with homesickness and all this can dangerously build up to an unhealthy amount of stress. Stress can critically affect your health, happiness, and relationships—it can also lead to depression. So let’s look at ways to deal with it head on….

1. Buy a daily planner
First things first—get yourself organised! It may sound very basic, but so many students ignore this, and failing to plan out your work schedule will inevitably lead to you feeling like things are getting on top of you.  Use your planner to schedule out your revision, seminar prep, and readings for each week. Look at your MyManchester timetable and then align your planner along with it. Simple stuff but trust me, it’s the easiest and most effective method to prevent stress.

2. Set small tasks
Don’t set yourself tasks that you know full well you will not be able to achieve. This will end up with you not completing the work you planned for yourself, which will lead to an unhealthy feeling of failure and stress. It will also mean that work you didn’t complete will have to be pushed back onto another day, which will also just mess up your planner. If you know you’re a procrastinator, don’t set yourself 10 tasks to do. Be smart about the workload you give yourself.

3. Make use of the university Counselling Service & your Academic Advisor
You’re paying £9,000 a year, use the resources that you are paying for! The University of Manchester offer a fantastic counselling service, where you book an appointment and can discuss with a professional one-to-one about the stresses you may be going through. They offer guided relaxation, workshops, specific advice on how to avoid procrastination and many other services. Furthermore, your Academic Advisor is of great use to you as they can really tailor subject-specific advice on how to deal with any struggles you have with studying.

4. Join a society
It’s important that at least some of your week is spent doing something enjoyable in order to avoid stress—joining a society is a perfect way to do this. Many people are too shy to join a society after they’ve missed the welcome events—DON’T BE! Committees are keen for their societies to grow so sign up! Joining a society means you’re guaranteed to meet like-minded people, bulk up your CV and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

5. Don’t neglect your longstanding relationships
Our family, school friends and boyfriend/girlfriend are some of the most important people to us. However, when many of us get to university, we can sometimes neglect these people and the calls, texts, and visits become all too infrequent. When we are stressed out, anxious, and depressed reaching out to these people is often the quickest way to change your mood. Don’t fear appearing needy or fear reaching out to friends you’ve haven’t spoken to in a while, life is too short and all it takes is a quick chat with a loved one to perk you up.

6. Limit use of social media                                                                                                                                                                         Constantly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and seeing the constructed photos of everyone else’s seemingly perfect life will only get you down. If you are struggling to make new friends and you’re dealing with loneliness, going on social media is guaranteed to make you feel worse. People only post what they want others to see, therefore you won’t see images of them crying in their room or understand they might be struggling with uni life just as much as you. Going through social media in your most stressful times will only wrongly make you feel like you’re struggling all alone. If you’re really bored pop on a new Netflix series but leave Facebook alone for a while!

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