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How to deal with stress in Freshers' Week (and beyond!)

4 min read
24 September 2018

Topics mentioned: looking after yourself at uni, anxiety, self-care

Author: Sammie

About: Our blogger, Sammie, shares five tips for dealing with stress and anxiety during Freshers' Week, and looking after your mental wellbeing at uni.

 

Going to university is one of the best and most exciting experiences that many of us will ever have. However, despite all the fun that Freshers' Week is bound to hold, the process of settling into a new place can result in a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

You may feel daunted, homesick or maybe just plain overwhelmed in your first few weeks at university, and that is totally normal. Between moving into a new home, starting your course and making new friends, it’s no surprise that many of us end up feeling the strain.

So, what can you do to minimise stress, have plenty of amazing experiences and ensure that you make the most of your first time flying solo?

You may feel daunted, homesick or maybe just plain overwhelmed in your first few weeks at university, and that is totally normal.

Try to socialise

If you’re feeling homesick, it can help to make the most of opportunities to connect with new people. One of the best things I did in my first couple of months at university was to get together with my flatmates to cook a meal together every evening. Working on something together and connecting in a way that doesn’t involve drinking can really help you to cement strong relationships.

If that isn’t quite your style, why not tackle a group assignment over coffee so you have a chance to get to know people on your course better? It’s important to remember that all students will face the same challenges and in your first few weeks people will appreciate your effort to involve them.

One of the best things I did in my first couple of months at university was to get together with my flatmates to cook a meal together every evening.

Healthy body, healthy mind

We’ve all heard it before, but one of the best ways to bust stress is to ensure that you’re staying healthy. You don’t have to give up Dominos or become an elite athlete (breathe a sigh of relief) but ten or twenty minutes of exercise a day can massively benefit your mental health.

Look for sports taster sessions offered by your Student Union, or maybe keep an eye out for one-off events that don’t require a big commitment. A charity dodgeball tournament, for example, provided an awesome opportunity for me and a group of friends to shake off a hangover and bust stress by having a laugh.

Ten or twenty minutes of exercise a day can massively benefit your mental health.

Try new things

University is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby, try your hand at a different sport or get involved in any number of weird and wonderful societies (Quidditch, anyone?).

Not only is this a great way to meet like-minded people, it will also ensure that you keep busy outside of the lecture theatre. You might find (like me) that you are rubbish at rowing and that musical theatre isn’t your thing, but it’s all about the experience!

University is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby, try your hand at a different sport or get involved in any number of weird and wonderful societies.

Try to get enough sleep

We students are notorious for being nocturnal and I can empathise with the late nights in both the Students' Union and the library, but one of the biggest contributors to stress is lack of sleep and if you’re tired, your worries can seem bigger than they really are!

Try and set aside one night a week where you can chill out before you go to sleep. A night watching Great British Bake Off or The Apprentice with a couple of mates and some chocolate worked wonders for me during more stressful weeks!

One of the biggest contributors to stress is lack of sleep and if you’re tired, your worries can seem bigger than they really are!

Ask for help

It’s important to take stock of how you’re feeling and know when to ask for support. Help can come from lots of different people in our lives, but it’s worth knowing that most universities are well-equipped to support you through difficult times.

Many offer a wide range of support services including counselling, advice hotlines and wellbeing workshops. Like me, you might find that an advice service isn’t right for you but mindfulness and meditation workshops help you to deal with stress effectively.

So, if you find yourself feeling stressed, worried or homesick during Freshers' Week, the first thing you need to do is remember that you’re not the only one. Secondly, don’t be afraid to seek help! Support services, friends and family are all there for you and after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Where to get help

However you're feeling, help is available.

Where to get help

However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.

  • Student Minds

    Supports students to look after their mental health by providing information and advice.

    They also provide details about local services offered by universities and information on how you can access support group programmes.

    You can call or email for more information (this is not a helpline).

  • The Mix

    Offers online information as well as helpline support to under-25s about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support is available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service and telephone helpline available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
  • Youth Access

    Provides information about local counselling and advice services for young people aged 11-25.

    Put in your location and what you need help with into their 'Find help' search, and see what services are available in your area.

Thanks for sharing your story Sammie

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