April is National Stress Awareness Month. Due to Covid-19 and lockdown, this year it is more important than ever to understand stress and how it can be reduced. With deadlines and exams fast approaching, many students can find this a very stressful time. Understanding stress and how it affects you can make it easier to deal with. Below are some interesting facts about stress and some links for where to go if you need help.
What is stress?
Stress is when your body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode. It releases hormones and chemicals like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine, which causes a number of reactions.
Everyone can experience stress in different ways and changes caused by stress can be emotional, physical, behavioural, or a mixture of the three.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Where can I go for help?
Student Support and Wellbeing Services:
If you feel that stress is affecting your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out to Student Support and Wellbeing. The University is able to offer counselling and other support to any students experiencing issues such as anxiety, depressed feelings and emotional difficulties. For more information, head to Student Support and Wellbeing.
Stress Management Workshops are also available and delivered by qualified counsellors who will help you to identify stress triggers and learn how to manage stress levels effectively. Sign up for the next workshop on 28 April.
Speak to your friends or family (or someone you trust):
When you’re feeling stressed, often the temptation is to isolate yourself. However, speaking to friends and family can help a lot!
Although it can be difficult to connect with friends due to Covid-19, interaction with others can help with relaxation and generally just talking things through. A good idea could be to go for a socially-distanced walk, or to call your friends online.
The Stress Management Society’s ‘Free Stress Guide’:
If you’re looking to better understand stress and how to deal with it, take a look at the Stress Management Society’s ‘Free Stress Guide’. It explains what stress is, how to recognise it, and what you can do to cope better.
Prepare, Connect, Be Calm
Exam season can be difficult and this year students all over the world are facing new challenges as they prepare for exams. At Kent we have a lot of resources, information and activities to help you stay calm, connected, and feel prepared to tackle your exams.
Head to the Exam Calm page to see how you can make the most of a range of support from different university departments who are working together to help all students throughout the summer term.
Remember: stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It helps us to survive dangerous situations and is a natural reaction. However, being in a state of stress for long periods of time can be damaging to our health, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you feel you need help. To look after yourself, ensure you are getting enough sleep, managing your time, taking part in physical activity and talking to others! Try taking up hobbies, and take breaks from work whenever possible.