‘Stress’ is how your mind and body respond to the demands you place on them. A little stress is normal, but when stress is high or prolonged you may feel you are unable to cope.

When stressed, you may find that you behave differently, becoming irritable, or tired and listless.

Stress can affect your physical health, too. You may experience headaches or feel like your heart is racing. Stress can suppress your immune system, making you susceptible to illness.

Stress can feed into anxietydepression, and other mental health issues.

Over 90% of students report feeling stressed about exams or assessments. If you're worried about exams, see our exam stress page for help.

How can I help myself?

Practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness exercises are a great way to help you find balance. You can learn to be present in the moment, set aside things you cannot act on and focus on what's most important. The Open Door team has created mindfulness videos to guide you through some exercises - see our tips for wellbeing for more information.

Mental wellbeing

  • Make time for things that you find relaxing and enjoyable.
  • Talk about it. Friends can cheer you up and help you find perspective.
  • Talk to your College Welfare Team or your supervisor for support and advice.
  • Remember that you are not responsible for what others do or how they feel.
  • Take your tasks one at a time and establish a routine. Learn to say 'no'.
  • If you don't have time for a new task, say so, or set aside something less important. Not everything needs to be done today.

Physical health

Look after your physical health. Eating well and getting regular exercise can boost your mood and give you the physical resources to tackle daily life.

  • Sleep is particularly important in regulating your mood.
  • Reduce stimulants like alcohol and tobacco, which can make you feel more 'on edge'.
  • Alcohol is a depressant and can make things seem worse than they are. Avoid the temptation to 'drink away' your troubles.

Our Stress busters (PDF , 20,175kb) leaflet highlights key things you can do to relieve the strain.