firstpoint’s five points about minimising stress…

Every Monday, firstpoint publishes five points about a topic related to life at university. This week, tips to help you recognise the signs of stress and techniques to help you minimise the effects… 


There are many points when study at university, perhaps at times of assessment or when exams are approaching, you might experience stress. Sometimes stress can be a positive thing, pushing you to perform well. It can affect you negatively though, so recognising the signs and being aware of the impact is important. Take steps to prevent it from having an impact on your studies and your life. 

Some physical signs of stress may include: breathlessness, nausea or changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, fidgeting or headaches. 

Mental and emotional signs of stress may include: feeling emotional, irritability, difficulty concentrating, loss of sense of humour and lack of interest. 


Being organised and planning can help you to exert more control over your life and your environment. Developing self-management skills will improve your ability to cope with stressful situations. Think about: 

  • Creating a timetable for completing coursework as soon as you know the requirements 
  • Plan to complete coursework a week ahead of submission date to help mitigate any last-minute issues 
  • Be realistic about deadlines you set yourself 
  • Decide on your priorities and stick to them 
  • Review task requirements to make sure you understand them   
  • Complete one task before moving on to another 
  • If a task is large and complicated, break it down in to more manageable ‘chunks’ 
  • Focus on working to the best of your abilities, and knowing when to stop  
  • Set time aside and consider when you are at your best, are you a morning person or a night owl? 
  • Seek help and communicate with your tutor if you are experiencing obstacles in your personal life, which are impacting your ability to meet deadlines 

Make sure you take regular breaks away from your studies. Do something different to break up long periods; practise a few relaxation techniques, talk to friends regularly and allow for some fun in your life! 

Group of students walking together across the campus
Take a walk with friends
Students in the Students' Union bar, sitting together and socialising
Make time to socialise
Students on the University AstroTurf, playing sports together
Don’t forget hobbies and fun

You could try some breathing techniques: breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth in a regular rhythm, gradually allowing your breathing to adjust its own depth. Techniques from yoga and meditation can be very useful; there are often sessions available through the University and at The Hive. 


Coffee, alcohol and smoking all contribute to feelings of stress. Try to keep to a well-balanced diet and allow time to eat properly and regularly. 

Exercise can be valuable because it helps to reduce the levels of stress-creating hormones and boost the happy-creating hormones in the bloodstream. You don’t need to be a great athlete to benefit from this, find a form of exercise that works for you. If you don’t fancy jogging, why not try a brisk walk instead and follow the university mile


Although university can be stressful, there is no reason to struggle alone. When stress feels overwhelming or you need to talk things through, there is a wide range of support available to you. You can begin by speaking with firstpoint

firstpoint can help you access support and guidance from a number of teams, including: Accommodation, Careers Advisers, Counselling and Mental Health Service, Disability and Dyslexia Service, Money Advisers, and the Programme Advisers. Further support is available from your Personal Academic Tutor and the Students’ Union

Contact us at firstpoint and we can help you decide which teams you may wish to speak with. If you’d like to, you can access ALL of the teams listed above!