Study pressures, budgeting troubles, missing home and the impact of COVID-19 can all play on your mind as you enter into your new university year.

If you are struggling with your mental health, then you may be noticing reactions in your behavioural, emotional and physical health too.

Remember you are not alone in feeling these stresses – they are very common among all students and all humans in general! Stress is normal and can sometimes be a positive thing, if harnessed in the correct way.

Coping mechanisms for stress can differ from student to student, however, here we have listed a few strategies to help ease some of the symptoms when you feel like things are getting a bit much.



When we exercise, we release endorphins that make us feel good. It’s very rare that you do exercise and regret it afterwards, so even if you don’t feel like it at the time, jump in and get your heart racing. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end, but you will have made a positive step to improving your state of mind for the remainder of the day.

Try starting each day with some form of exercise, whether it be a yoga lesson, a bike ride or a jog. Also, doing your exercise outdoors will also give you a double stress-relief boost as you spend time in nature with plenty of fresh air.


Rest and relaxation

Finding ways to slow down your mind and ease your thoughts are vital coping mechanisms for stress. Mindfulness and meditation are ancient techniques that can significantly help mental health and tackle stress and anxiety.

One of the most common entries into mindfulness and meditation is to practice breath control or listen to a guided yoga meditation. There are many free apps available, such as the Mindfulness App, Calm or Headspace. There are also many Youtube videos available, so find one that suits you best.


Chatting it out

If you have something on your mind that won’t shift or a feeling that won’t go away, then talking about it can often help to expose it and help you deal with it better. Speaking to family and friends who know you best is the best starting point. Studies have actually shown that socialising with a good friend just once a week can reduce your stress levels as much as a professional counselling session (as well as being much cheaper!).

Alternatively, if there is a sensitive issue that you would rather not discuss with friends or family, then make an appointment with your student wellbeing service. You will be able to find their contact details via the website of your university or college. They’ll provide a listening ear, as well as advising on specific support to help you further.

Student Minds has also set up a resource called Student Space to help you through the challenges of Covid-19. Via the resource you can talk to trained volunteers by text, phone, email or webchat about whatever issues are on your mind. You can also access articles and videos, written by expert clinicians and students, to help you through the challenges of student life.


Sleeping well

Maintaining a health sleep routine is key to managing stress and optimising your mental health. As a student, sleep doesn’t always come high on the agenda, but endless late nights and disrupted sleep patterns can play havoc on your nervous system and mental health as a result.

As much as you can do, try to go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Seven to eight hours is recommended as an optimum amount. Do everything you can to relax yourself before going to bed, for example taking a bath to wind down, reading a book or practicing some light yoga. Avoid screen time as much as possible and switch off laptops, phones and tablets at least an hour before going to sleep.