For some, December can be a great time to be a student. Holiday festivities are starting and a long break from classes is coming up. But for others, it can be a pretty stressful time. If you’re at uni, it might be your first time living away from home. Around this time is often when homesickness starts to sink in. Add on loads of coursework and upcoming exams and you’re probably feeling a lot of student stress! So how can you deal with student stress, you may ask. While there’s no quick fix to get yourself back to a balanced state of mind, there are a few things you can do that will probably help.

If you’re experiencing lots of student stress, you could try talking to a friend or floor supervisor. Chances are your friends are feeling the same way, and this can be a great chance to support each other through this period. Keeping each other on track with assignments, venting about how you feel and perhaps even sharing in some laughs is a great way to keep the student stress in check. If you’re in a residence with a postgraduate student who acts as floor supervisor (e.g. counsellor and mentor), the chances are that they’ve talked to lots of students in your position and can provide some tried and true support.

Trying to keep active can also help a lot fight off student stress. As things get busier, you may find you have less time to do anything besides study and write. Now we’re not saying that you need to run 10km every day (although well done if you do!), but going for a long walk, a gentle jog or to a fitness class will get you away from your books, allowing you to clear your mind and let go of some of that student stress so you can get back to work. Somewhat related to this point – try to keep off the sauce a bit. Alcohol acts as a depressant, so beyond an initial few minutes of freedom from your worries, drinking will not actually make you feel better.

Taking breaks from working is hugely important in dealing with student stress. We’ve highlighted the pomodoro technique before, taking a 5 minute break to do whatever you want every 25 minutes or so. This is a great technique to stop you from getting too distracted, thus making you more productive. But taking longer breaks is important too. You can base this around another activity, like eating dinner if you’re really pushed for time. And every once in a while, try to take a whole day off if you can. Your brain works all the time as a student, so give it a proper break. So plan an outing with your friends and get away from the student stress for a few hours or a day.

Another important element in helping combat student stress is to get lots of sleep. Writing and studying can be really draining, and if you cut back on sleep your work is going to suffer, as is your mental state. It can be really hard to sleep when you’re feeling stressed out though, so think about playing some classical music, reading something that’s not course related or drinking herbal tea before bed. These things work for other people, so why not you?

And finally, remember that you’re just a few assignments away from several weeks away you’re your course, where you’ll get to see family and friends, relax for a few days, and then get back to studying

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