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Stress: What is it, and how to overcome it

University can be quite a whirlwind. It can be fun, exciting, and amazing, but it can equally be busy, stressful, and overwhelming. 

Sometimes, stress is a bit of a buzzword, but if that’s how you feel, then that’s perfectly ok. 

Despite the fact it can make you feel terrible, stress is a natural feeling, designed to help you cope in challenging situations. In small doses, it can be helpful because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, but sometimes it’s more than a small dose which therefore becomes unhelpful. 

If you are feeling super stressed, it can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It can also hinder your academic performance. 

It’s worth noting, you’re entitled to feel however you feel and there’s always a way to help change the way you feel and alleviate stress and anxiety, regardless of the cause and however major or minor they are. 

Keep on reading to help identify stress, and anxiety and how you may be able to help yourself overcome these feelings.  

How to identify stress and anxiety 


Stress can make you feel: 

  • irritable 
  • anxious 
  • like you cannot enjoy yourself 
  • worried a lot of the time

You may start to: 

  • have sleep problems 
  • find it hard to concentrate 
  • bite your nails, pick your skin or grind your teeth 
  • snap at people 
  • feel short of breath or breathe very fast 


Anxiety can make you feel: 

  • Restless 
  • a sense of dread 
  • constantly “on edge” 
  • Irritable 

What can you do? 

Acknowledging that you’re not feeling so great is the first step. 

There are several things you can do to treat yourself such as self-care. 

Taking some time out of your day to find some peace can be incredibly valuable to your mental health. You can do things such as switching off your phone and reading a book, having your favourite hot drink, watching your favourite tv show, going for a walk, the list goes on! 

The NHS have some really useful tips too, such as speaking to your GP for further advice. Click here to the NHS’s advice on treating anxiety.  

The NHS has also written a brilliant resource on treating student stress. It’s worth having a read if you are feeling stressed by clicking here. 

Places to go for help 

If you don’t feel like contacting your GP, you can speak to the student wellbeing services at your university, and you can also visit the sites below / call the numbers for help. 

If you’re having an urgent mental health crisis, please call 111, and if you need immediate medical attention, please call 999.  

Student Minds

TEXT: ‘STUDENT’ to 85258  

CALL: 0808 189 5260 between 4pm and 11pm 

For further information from Student Minds, click here. 


This charity campaigns for greater awareness and access to support. Mind can answer all your questions surrounding mental health and give you tailored advice about what support is available to you. 

CALL: 0300 123 3393 

Opening hours: 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) 

Mental Health Foundation 

Host of the mental health awareness week, this charity is pivotal as a voice for change. By conducting research and influencing policy, they ensure that improvements are made to how mental health is treated in society. 

The Mix 

Exceptionally innovative and progressive, this charity, which is aimed at under 25s, talks to young people about very real issues that they might be facing.  

Phone number: 0808 808 4994 

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday 

 We’ve also got some more helpful tips on a post from April 2021, which marked the 19th annual Stress Awareness Month.
Click here to view that post.

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