For most people, studying is a time where they socialise with a wide range of people and have many new experiences. While this can be positive, it can also feel overwhelming. This page covers:
For more ideas, check out the Mind Matters resource from Student Minds.
You might feel like there is a lot of pressure to do well academically, as well as pressure to be sociable. Try to build up strategies to manage stress before it gets too much, so it's easier to respond to additional pressure – for example, around exam times.
- Try using a planner to keep track of deadlines and key commitments and organise your study.
- Take time out to relax. Getting away from your desk, even for short periods of time, can help keep you calm.
- Keep an eye on social commitments to avoid overloading your schedule around deadlines and exams.
See our pages on stress for more information, or the Student Minds course Positive Minds for ideas on keeping your university experience positive.
Looking after your physical health
Looking after your physical health will help you stay healthy and maintain concentration to study well.
- Get good sleep. If you're tired, your worries can get blown out of proportion. Getting into a regular sleep routine can help you stay on top of university life. See our pages on coping with sleep problems for more information.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well and think clearly. See our pages on food and mood for more tips. The Student Minds blog The Kitchen has ideas for cooking on a student budget.
- Exercise regularly. Keeping active can help you improve your mental health. Even gentle exercise, like yoga or swimming, can help you relax and manage stress. See our pages on physical activity for more information.
Tiredness is one of the biggest problems with the student lifestyle and it can contribute significantly to my mood. I feel more emotional and less capable when I am tired.
Managing drugs and alcohol
While alcohol is often associated with the student lifestyle, you don't have to drink if you don't want to. Most Students' Unions offer a range of social events and activities that are alcohol free. Remember:
- alcohol can worsen depression and cause other health problems
- try to ensure you have some days without drinking
- be careful if you are taking medication, as it's usually recommended not to drink while taking it
For more information about alcohol, see:
Illegal drugs can also have a serious impact on your mental health. See our pages on street drugs for more information, or see Frank for confidential information and advice.
Living with other students
If you have moved away from home, it is likely that at some point you will have to organise your own housing. You may not always feel you have a lot of choice, but you could think about if you want to live:
- with people who you can talk to about your mental health
- with a smaller number of people, perhaps in a smaller house
- closer to campus or somewhere with better transport links
- near shops and amenities to make it easier to be sociable
- somewhere quiet with more privacy
Renting a house or flat for the first time is a big deal, but there is plenty of advice and support out there. Check with your university or Students' Union if they provide advice about accommodation, managing landlords and signing contracts. You can also contact Unipol, the student housing charity.