How to reduce study stress

6 September 2021

a young student takes a break from studying.

No matter what level of education you are at, whether that’s studying for an undergraduate degree or training to become a mortgage advisor, the fact is studying can be stressful. From the pressure of taking on a lot of new information in a short period of time and then using that knowledge to pass exams, assessments and other tests, to finding a healthy balance between work, rest and other life commitments, there’s no real surprise that feelings of anxiety come hand in hand with studying. The truth is, in small amounts, stress can even help you by pushing you to work harder. However, too much stress can impact your studies in a negative way. While these feelings are pretty inevitable, there is no reason why anxiety should affect how successful your studies are – it’s all about knowing how to reduce feelings of stress. 

This got us thinking here at Simply Academy – what is so-called study stress and how can you learn to deal with it? Carry on reading for our top tips. 

What is study stress?

As the name suggests, study stress refers to the feelings of anxiety, concern and apprehension associated with studying. While this form of stress is typically caused by feeling overwhelmed by things such as workloads, assignments or exams, it can also be brought on by aspects of your life indirectly impacted by your studies. This could include not being able to find a healthy work/life balance while training to become a financial advisor, for example, or seeing your income be impacted by your studies while at university. 

As touched upon above, stress is a natural human feeling and in small amounts can even benefit you, driving you to stay alert and work harder. However, according to the NHS, if you are feeling overly stressed and anxious, or simply do not feel you can manage your stress, this can lead to mental health problems such as depression and long-term anxiety. In turn, this can impact your academic performance, as well as other aspects of your life. 

Fortunately, there are ways to both deal with study stress and actually learn to overcome it over time. 

How to deal with study stress

While many of the tips discussed below sound obvious, when stressed it’s easy not to think properly and to act irrationally. For this reason, re-reading and following the below steps when you start to feel stress levels creeping up is a good idea.

  • Eat, sleep and exercise regularly

No matter how stressed you are feeling, replacing exercising with more studying, surviving on a poor diet, and pulling all-nighters will just make you feel worse. For this reason, above all else, looking after yourself should be your number one priority. In order to take care of both body and mind, ensure you are getting between eight and nine hours of sleep each night, try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, and try not to consume too much junk food and coffee (as tempting and convenient as it may sound).

  • Set realistic targets

Whether you’re revising for an upcoming assessment, writing an essay or simply trying to get your head around a tricky new concept, setting achievable goals helps to convert large workloads into smaller, bite-sized chunks. This helps you to rationalise the size or your workload, reducing stress, and prevents you from burning yourself out. 

  • Find a study buddy or group

If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, try to find a like-minded study buddy or group who you can work with. This not only gives you a sounding board to bounce off ideas with, it also provides you with additional emotional and psychological support. 

  • Take regular breaks

Taking yourself away from your studies for regular breaks is vitally important. Not only does taking breaks throughout days of studying help to reduce stress, it also works towards maintaining concentration and performance. It can also help to reset your mood. This means you can return to your work with a positive outlook. 

  • Talk and ask for help

Reaching out for help is never a weakness. If you are struggling with study stress, talking to friends, family or fellow students about how you are feeling can make the world of difference. Seeking professional or even medical help is also something to consider if your levels of stress are reaching manageable levels. 

How to overcome study stress

For many, stress and anxiety is something they will never totally overcome. However, as we have discussed above, there are many ways to help manage these feelings. From putting a good eat, sleep and exercise study regime in place and setting realistic targets to taking regular breaks and working in groups, study stress can be kept at bay. However, if you are still struggling to overcome study stress, remember the following tips:

  • Think about times you have performed well in the past
  • Take a step back and take some time away from your studies
  • Speak to friends and family about your concerns 
  • Discuss your concerns with your personal tutor or course manager 
  • Speak to a GP or other healthcare professional if your stress levels are becoming unmanageable.

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