Stress Awareness Month - tips on how to keep cool, calm and collected

Issue date: 29 March 2018


April is Stress Awareness Month, so one of our Wellbeing practitioners has written some top tips to help you keep cool, calm and collected - especially during this busy season of assignments and exams.

The science bit

The word 'stress' is commonly used in everyday language, but what does it really mean?

Stress is a biological and psychological response to threat. It is the body's way of protecting you. Stress hormones are released to enable you to deal with pressures or threats – the so-called 'fight or flight' response. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert. Once the pressure or threat has passed, your hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if you're constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in your body, leading to negative symptoms. So the right amount of stress is needed to keep us alive but too much can be really distressing.

How you might feel How you might behave How your body might react
Anxious Find it hard to make decisions Have trouble sleeping
Irritable Avoid situations Low energy
Impatient Snap at people Grind teeth
Aggressive Struggle to concentrate Pick at skin
Over-burdened Eat too much or too little Headaches
Unable to enjoy yourself Smoke more than usual Thudding heart or chest pains
Depressed Drink more alcohol than usual Muscle tension or pain
A sense of dread Feel restless Shallow breathing
Disinterested in life Panic attacks
Tearful

Managing stress

Workload

Stress can often be caused by feeling overwhelmed by external tasks such as deadlines or exams so try to break work down into manageable chunks, set realistic tasks and recognise your achievements.

Take a break

Balance is vital in managing stress levels and we need a mix of work and rest in order to be both happy and productive.

Asking for help

Sometimes we feel stressed because we've taken on too much, so remember the importance of saying “No”, sharing a task or simply asking for help to complete something.

Seeking support

If you're finding things particularly stressful, remember that you can speak to one of us at the Wellbeing Service for support. Take a look at our website to find out about the range of support available, including self-help resources.

The Wellbeing Service runs daily drop-ins from 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00 Monday-Friday during term-time. Simply go to reception or get in touch with the team using the details below.

Location: 2FC050, Felixstowe Court (behind B and C block), Frenchay Campus

Phone: 0117 32 86268

Email: wellbeing@uwe.ac.uk

Chat online

If you need to speak to someone outside of office hours, you can contact Kooth Student - they provide free, anonymous online counselling during evenings and weekends and will be online over the Easter period.

You can also contact Samaritans for free, confidential 24/7 support, 365 days of the year on 116 123.

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