Image of a laptop from above and a hand going to type. The other hand is holding a stress ball.

National Stress Awareness Month is an annual event that takes place every April in the UK. The purpose is to increase public awareness of stress and how it can impact people’s lives, therefore, it is important that we are all aware of how to deal with stress.

In today’s blog, we will define what stress is, and look into the steps that we can take to overcome it – to help you remain positive during exams season and changes in pandemic restrictions.

What is stress? 

The definition of stress is a normal human reaction that links our body’s response to pressure which can be due to physical, emotional or psychological strain. Stress occurs in different situations in our daily life – when we experience new things, threats, or things that we have little control over.

What causes stress?

The primary, common causes of stress for us as university students are from:

  1. University assignments and exams – This is the time of the year where we are all working towards our deadlines for our assignments and the upcoming exam season, which builds additional stress upon us.
  2. Pressure over paid work and study (time management) – It can be difficult to manage time effectively between paid work and university study.
  3. New living environment –  Adapting to a new living environment at the university, away from home and family.
  4. Loneliness and difficulties to maintain relationships with friends – During the past year it has been difficult to meet your friends in person, this often results in loneliness.
  5. Independence – A need to become self-reliant and organise our daily lives.

How to overcome stress? Potentially useful steps to take:

  1. Exercise – Physical exercise is a way to relax and can help to manage stress. Walking by the lake for 30 minutes a few times a week will make that difference.
  2. Leisure time – Take time out to do fun stuff. For example, playing games or watching a movie to reward yourself for the hard work studying.
  3. Sleep – Ensure that you have enough sleep, I highly recommend that you have 8-10 hours of sleep which helps you to have a productive day ahead! Hence, sleep early and wake up early.
  4. Grateful – At the end of your day, write down 10 things that you are grateful for.
  5. Keep hydrated –  You build up stress when you are thirsty, so drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  6. Balanced Diet – Eat a healthy balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables always the healthiest option.
  7. Connect with people online or in-person – Meeting up with your friends and families online or in person is another great way to relieve your stress.
  8. Write a journal – Looking back at your journal with amazing things that you’ve done in the past can motivate you for the rest of the day.

How do you overcome stress?

I hope this blog has inspired you to be aware of stress. Let’s support one another during this Stress Awareness Month 2021.

It would be lovely to know what your thoughts are below in the comments.

Wishing everyone a happy summer term, and good luck in your exams and assessments!

Pok Lim Lai

Student Voice Ambassador

Support if you are feeling stressed:
  • Student Wellness Check – An online wellness self-assessment tool to help students quickly identify what they need and where they can go to get support.
  • NHS self-help guides – Our NHS self-help guides are available to download in several helpful formats. Information is available on a range of topics.
  • UoR Guidance and Support – Find out about the personal support available to you including learning support, physical and mental health services, disability support and spiritual care.
  • Stress NHS – Most people feel stressed sometimes and some people find stress helpful or even motivating. But if stress is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help.

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