Stress is probably one of the most common topics of conversation at university. Everyone has a point (or a few), where they tell themselves, friends or family, that they ‘genuinely can’t do it’- can’t get their assignment finished on time, or can’t possibly fit enough revision in for their exams. However, the majority of the time everything works out, and the key to success is managing this stress effectively and channelling it into productivity.
So we’ve come up with some of our top tips to try out whilst you are revising for January exams, or worrying about all your deadlines looming at once…
One of our favourite stress relief strategies! Research shows that as little as 7 minutes of exercise is enough to make you feel significantly happier, however, to get the full effect, we would recommend about 20. Whilst going for a run/walk, or going to the gym might be the last thing on your mind when you feel buried in work, it is proven to be one of the best ways to improve your mood and re-energise, through the release of endorphins. This is much healthier and much more effective than trying to keep your brain going with countless cups of tea or coffee.
GETTING INTO A ROUTINE
We have found that by planning out our day’s work in advance and sticking to a schedule, we are able to get into a routine, even during exam time. Instead of just working for hours on end, we can fit in seeing friends and doing some exercise every day, working in shorter, but more productive bursts. When you keep a healthy work-life balance, you will feel much more relaxed, and actually tend to get much more done.
One of the worst parts of deadlines is the lack of sleep. As the workload increases, the time left to relax often becomes limited, and a lot of students struggle to get a good night’s sleep. You might not feel like you have the time to sleep, however, research suggests that even just one extra hours sleep per night can help to improve your ability to concentrate and boost your productivity. Even if you feel like you need those extra hours of work in the night, a lack of sleep may actually increase your stress levels and decrease your productivity. Make sure you stay well rested!
TAKE A BREAK
Even though you mightn’t feel like you should be taking time away from your studying, it’s so important to remember to take a break when you’re constantly working. Getting away from your desk even for 30 minutes can really help to refresh your mind and you’ll find you’re much more productive afterwards! Whether it’s just going for a quick walk, meeting up with friends or even watching some Netflix, this will give your mind a bit of a rest and time to re-charge before you get back into work.
While our phones sometimes seem really important during study periods to ask our friends questions about how they’re revising or doing coursework, they can also really add to our stress levels. Technology can sometimes act as a major distraction and can often mean that you’re actually counter-productive. We recommend trying to switch off from technology (except if you’re using your laptop!) during work periods, only using it during breaks or when you really have to!
By Sarah Robson and Catherine Kelly