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Managing stress

Managing stress banner


University can be the best time of your life. Freshers, new friends, independence, eating out, unplanned lay-ins. The list goes on and on. However, there is another side to this new found freedom: deadlines, exams, bills, and a new environment. This list also goes on and on. Sometimes it’s challenging to balance the two sides, and this can lead to an unhealthy level of stress. But don’t panic – here you’ll find top tips, activities and reading material to encourage a healthier and peaceful state of mind while you’re getting your degree.


What is stress?

The term is thrown around wherever you go and is visible on the people you see day to day, but, do we actually know what it is? If you’re not too sure The Stress Free Guide to Studying at University and Coping with Stress at University are fantastic books which break everything down for you, making it easy to understand what a Student’s Top Stressors are and what you can do to manage stress to prevent you feeling overwhelmed. Have a read of how to deal with stress at the early stages of leaving home and starting university.


study clock image Causes of stress at university – are you a procrastinator?

Essay due for Friday afternoon? Left it till Thursday night? We’ve all been there! Time management is a common problem for students, especially with distractions all around. Leaving things to the last minute can lead to a lot of stress, especially when you’re trying to meet a deadline or prep for a next day exam. Take our procrastination test, to see where you and time management seem to go wrong. Knowing the answer may help you avoid those sleepless nights.


study pencil image EXAMS….DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN!

The dreaded word which sparks fear in the most studious student. Before you panic, check out some useful tips on how to minimise stress levels before and during your exams.

Before your exam:

  • Plan in advance; decide how much time you’re going to spend reading the questions and planning the questions
  • Make sure all your pens, pencils, and other stationary items are in good working order, and that you have spares in case something breaks
  • If you have exam nerves, plan your rewards you’ll give yourself after the exam!

During your exam:

  • Read the instructions carefully, twice. Make sure you know how many questions to answer, and which ones are compulsory
  • If you find exams a struggle, you can reward yourself during the exam by using positive imaging, or by self – praise. The idea is to associate doing the exam with positive, calming thoughts
  • Plan your answer to each question, making sure you have at least something to say for each part of any multi-part question.

Check out our dedicated exam support page for more tips or take a look at some of our recommended top rated texts at the bottom.


study globe image Spotlight on international and postgrad students

International and Postgrad students are often forgotten in the conversation about stress at university. It’s important to remember that they will be dealing with the same amount of stress as an average undergraduate student studying from the UK, plus stress from issues such as:

  • Work – life balance
  • Conflicting emotional demands
  • Feeling marginalised
  • Culture shock
  • Returning to education.

We have some helpful books to make sure you’re fully prepared for life studying abroad and life studying after an undergraduate degree listed at the bottom.


Top tips from our authors

Stress can affect you at any point of your life, but statistics show that greater levels of stress are quickly affecting younger people more, leading to physical and psychological problems such as anxiety or even depression.

The authors of Mindful Teacher, Mindful School have some helpful and practical advice on health and well-being in stressful environments such as university:  

Read top tips

The author of The Student Guide to Mindfulness, David Mair, has also shared some tips for managing your mental wellbeing during social distancing or isolation:



If you want to know a bit more about stress and the effects it can have on our mental health, check out our mental health awareness blog.

Tips taken from:  The Stress Free Guide to Studying at University , Coping with Stress at University , The International Student's Guide  and Getting your PhD