While uni is brilliant fun, and a time to make new friends, go on fun nights out and (hopefully) learn a thing or two, it’s no secret that studying at university is a lot of work. Whatever course you’re on, and whatever stage you’re at, sometimes things can just get a little bit overwhelming, and the stress of course work and exams, sometimes combined with things like juggling a part time job with your studies, or feeling homesick, can all become a bit too much. So, if you’re feeling a bit anxious and overwhelmed, it’s important to find a way to destress! Here are a few things I found useful over my time at uni, to take my mind off things during the most hectic times of year!
Go for a walk:
Never underestimate the power of going for a short walk. If you’re feeling worked up and stressed, putting the books to one side, picking up your iPod (or whatever you listen to music on!), and going for a walk around the block can really help to calm you down. Exercise releases endorphins, hormones which can have a calming effect on the body and mind. These hormones are shown to improve self-esteem and combat stress, so taking time out for a twenty minute walk not only is good for your physical health, but can have a great effect on how you feel mentally too!
Listen to music:
Listening to your favourite music can have an absolutely incredible impact on how you are feeling. For me, it’s one of the things that can have the biggest effect if I’m feeling anxious – listening to mood lifting songs (for me, it’s usually a bit of cheesy pop music, but go with whatever works for you!) can make me feel so much better. Concentrating on positive lyrics, or upbeat melodies can distract you from the anxious feelings you’re having, which leaves you feeling more relaxed when you eventually get back to work.
If you had told me a couple of years ago I would find meditation so beneficial, I would probably have laughed at you. I had a complete misconception of what basic meditation involves, and I’m so glad I bit the bullet one particularly anxious day and downloaded the HeadSpace app. There are lots of meditation apps out there, so go and have a look for the one that sounds like it will work best for you (try a couple if they’re free downloads!), and give it a try! HeadSpace encourages you to take ten minutes each day just to sit, focus on your breathing, allow thoughts to come and go, and really increase your focus on the present moment. It sounds a bit out there, and it certainly won’t work for everyone, but I know that for me, and a few of my friends, it really does! I think a lot of our stresses in life come from concentrating on the future (what if this happens, what if this never happens, what if things don’t work out the way I expected…), which we can’t control, so learning to focus more on the present is important!
Watch an episode of your favourite television show:
As a self-confessed television addict, this is one that works an absolute treat for me every single time. Spending time with your favourite characters can be a brilliant distraction, and especially if it’s a show you’ve seen before and know well, you don’t have to concentrate too much on what’s going on. You can just get caught up in the storyline and get a bit lost in another world – one where whatever it is that has stressed you out doesn’t exist! Then, by the time the episode has finished, you’ve calmed down, and are feeling refreshed and ready to get back to it. Obviously this is a short term solution, but one that I totally recommend.
Sleep it off:
Sometimes, when things have got on top of you, there’s nothing else for it but to head to bed and sleep it off. When you have a lot of work to do, it can be tempting to try to just power through, no matter how you’re feeling, but that usually just results in feeling worse! And, let’s face it, you can’t do your best work when you’re feeling overwhelmed! So sometimes the best thing to do is to head to bed, watch a couple of episodes of something on Netflix, or read a couple of chapters of a good book, and go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day, and you might just find that a good night’s sleep has you waking up with a much clearer head and a more positive perspective!
So that’s it – my top five tips for dealing with feeling overwhelmed at university (or at any point in life, really!)! I hope you found that useful, and if you’re midway through your exams, I hope they are going well. Thanks so much for reading :)
What are your top tips for dealing with an overwhelming day?