How To Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed At Uni

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!

how-to-deal-with-feeling-overwhelmed-at-uni

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.

Try meditation:

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?

Lynsey x

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Exams: How To Prepare Like A Pro!

It’s mid April, which can mean only one thing – exams are just around the corner. Timetables vary from university to university, but generally exam season is late April to the end of May and it’s a period that results in a lot of stressed students camping out in the library, cramming for their final assessments.  Coupled with the fact that you probably still have coursework due in, April and May can quickly become the months we dread the most each year over the course of our degrees!

So this post is just a few tips on preparing for your exams like a pro! Taking all of these tips into consideration might make this stressful time a little bit easier.

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1. Get Enough Sleep

This isn’t just a study tip, but a general life tip, and it’s one that I’m still having to work on. And since it’s currently 1.30am when I’m writing this, I’d say I still need to improve! I’m a night owl, always have been, and there’s nothing wrong with that – if you’re at your most productive at 1am, that’s great! Just make sure that you don’t have to be up at 6am the next day. Your sleep pattern can be whatever works best for you, as long as you’re clocking up enough hours before and after a huge study session. Sleep does wondrous things for us – it is proven to improve memory (clearly a plus when revising for exams!), increase creativity and lower stress!

2. Get Organised

When you have several exams to study for, it can become overwhelming. You might have three exams in a week, so sitting with all of your notes for each subject scattered around your desk will not help you feel any better about it! I’ve mentioned enough times by now my love for To-Do Lists and planners, and these can be your best friends at a time like this! Write down all of your exams dates and prioritise. That way you know exactly how much you have to do and rather than worrying about it, you can just start working on it!

3. Figure out what works for you

Group study sessions do not work for everyone. When it comes to prepping for exams, some people like nothing more than to congregate with their classmates to study, and there are lots of benefits in this. Bouncing ideas off one another might spark something in you, and can be a great way of covering more ground quickly. However, for others, group study sessions are a nightmare – you begin to panic that everyone knows more than you (which they don’t!) and you’re lagging behind (you’re not!), and that can have a massive impact on your ability to concentrate. So just figure out what works for you and go from there. As long as it isn’t during a group project, there’s nothing wrong with deciding you study much better holed up alone in your room!

4. Take regular breaks

Your brain can only take in so much information at a time, so don’t try to force yourself to keep going when you’ve reached that point. If you’ve been in the library for five hours and realise than in the past twenty minutes you’ve read the same sentence ten times, while absent mindedly checking your phone, it’s time for a break. Going for a walk, stopping to have lunch with a friend, or even just giving yourself a half hour “social media” break to check your twitter/instagram/Facebook can work wonders. You’ll feel much better taking a deliberate break than you will if you accidentally waste an hour just sitting blankly staring at the computer screen!

5. Take the pressure off

This sounds like an absolutely ridiculous thing to say considering these marks affect your degree, but try to take the pressure off, and remind yourself that you can only do your best.  If you’ve put the work in, you’ll more than likely be absolutely fine. And if it doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, it’s not the end of the world! It’s all part of the big old uni learning curve. This is something I was terrible for – I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself round about assessment time, and it’s never conducive to a calm mind set!  Keeping things in perspective is always helpful – each exam is just one piece of the university puzzle, and while striving to do well is great, it’s never worth making yourself ill with worry! Put in the work, do your best, and that’s all anyone can ask of you!

If you have exams coming up soon, good luck!! I hope you’re managing not to stress too much, and just think about what a great month June will be!

What are your top tips for exam study?

Lynsey x

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