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The Anxious Student Guide to Uni

So, the big week is finally here and it’s time to ship most of your worldly possessions to a far-flung corner of the UK so you can start Fresher’s Week, or to your first uni house with all your best buds. Exciting right? Well, it might not be so great if you have anxiety. We’ve got some great tips on how to cope, so you can still enjoy every moment without feeling overwhelmed. 

1) Go at your own pace

… Especially if this is the start of your uni journey. It can be really easy to get swept up in the craziness of freshers week, and the pressures of making friends, knowing a new town and doing well when the real work starts. Instead of trying to do too much, make sure you do the first few few weeks at your own pace and on your own terms. If you want to take a break from the craziness, do that. If you want to take in the city on your own instead of joining a tour, do that. This is your experience, remember that. 

2) Take a moment to yourself when you need it 

So it’s the big night out with your new or returning pals, and you are feelin’ it. But then, when people start coming over before you all head out, you suddenly feel that familiar feeling of panic building. Don’t feel like you have to do anything you don’t necessarily want to. Forcing yourself out when you don’t feel good is a quick way to end the night on a low.

Instead, when you feel yourself starting to panic, go to your room, close the door and put on some chill music. Sit on your bed or chair and focus on breathing steadily and evenly for two minutes. That should hopefully have you feeling a little more like yourself. 

3) Schedule some time every week for you to do you 

Everyone can get caught up in the whirlwind of life from time to time, but a good way to keep a lid on anxiety is to make regular times throughout the week to check in with yourself. If you need to chill and watch a movie alone, do it. If reading makes you feel better, curl up with a good book. Whatever it is, it should make you feel relaxed, and give you the chance to put a little distance between yourself and the day. 

4) Keep in touch with those close to you 

We all do it. Head off into the world and quickly forget to stay in touch with all the people we love. If you throw a messages in the group chat, call your family or WhatsApp your best friend, it might help you feel a bit more grounded. The people in our lives before uni have known us for ages, so they will understand if you want to chat about what is making you feel so stressed. 

5) Find out about uni mental health services 

If you are worried about your anxiety and stress levels, find out about where your uni mental health services are. They should have loads of information, groups and other things that can help you out without having to be referred by the GP, and it could really help you keep on top of it. 

6) Find an ally 

Even if you only find one great person at uni to be your ally in your anxiety, it’s great to have someone around who can be supportive of you. For tips on making friends at uni, give this list a read

7) Stay on top of your diet 

Pot Noodles and balck coffee might be the staple of your life when you aren’t at home with a fridge full of delicious food bought by your parents. The thing is, a bad diet can have a lot to answer for. It can make it harder for you to cope with stress, can mess with your sleep, ruin your concentration and keep your mood low for days. Try making sure you are having three meals a day, and if at least some of that is made up of vegetables, you’re laughing.

8) Step out of your comfort zone once in a while 

It might seem a bit counter-intuitive to get out of your comfort zone if you are dealing with anxiety, but giving yourself the chance to see what you can do when you are at your best is a good motivator. You never know, you might find a new hobby that could make you happy, or meet some awesome new people that could help you through your anxiety. 

9) Get organised 

Tidy room, tidy mind, and all that. Keeping your spaces clean and clutter free can make them a really relaxing place to be, meaning that, when your day has been a bit much, you aren’t also overwhelmed by the volume of dirty laundry that covers your bedroom floor. Mark your plans in your phone so you don’t end up double booking yourself, and you can see when you have some busy times coming up and can prepare for them. 

10) Remember, you aren’t in this alone

Having anxiety can make you feel lonely, especially when you are at uni where everyone seems to be having the best time. It’s really important to remember that you are not alone in this, and that you can get through it. 

If you feel like you need support, you can speak to one of our trained mentors confidentially here.

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