Stress is a very natural human experience and we can experience stress when it feels there is too much to do and not enough time. People who experience chronic or long-standing stress can occasionally experience symptoms of low mood or anxiety.
We know that many students at the moment are going through a period of exams, assessments, coursework deadlines or a combination of these. It is quite natural to find exams stressful, but there is a range of things you can do to help reduce the feelings of panic we often feel when stressed.
Relaxation - When we are stressed, the muscles in our bodies tense up, which can lead to more worry. Find time to do something that makes you feel relaxed, such as a walk on the beach or watching an episode of your favourite boxset.
Quick breathing technique - Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, counting in for seven and out for 11 seconds. Practice this when you are feeling calm so you know what to do when feeling more stressed or anxious.
Lifestyle changes - Being active can help with boosting mood, feeling more relaxed, clearing your mind and the added bonus of lots of other health benefits. Regular meals and balanced diets can increase wellbeing. Try and keep a sleeping routine, avoid naps, keep a healthy sleep environment and avoid caffeine late at night.
Managing your worries - Write down any thoughts or worries on paper. Sort out worries into hypothetical and current practical worries to prioritise your focus. Create worry zones for more control.
Mindfulness - Deliberately pay attention to the present moment and focus on what you can see, taste, smell, hear and feel.
Organising your space and time - Remove all distractions and find separate places to work and to relax.
Time - Plan in advance, include important dates. Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) objectives to achieve tasks, setting both short and long term goals.
No matter how many exams you’ve sat before it can be a pressured time - read our handy advice on things to do - and not to do.
Know who to talk to
If any students at BU feel they're struggling with stress or anxiety, or in fact with any mental health difficulty, and think it is time to seek some help, the Student Wellbeing service is here to support. The team can help with a range of concerns such as:
- Anxiety, panic, depression, low mood and other mental health conditions
- Drug or alcohol use
- Lifestyle issues including difficulties sleeping or eating
- Relationship and family issues
- Isolation, social anxiety and confidence
- Advice if you are concerned about a friend.
There are regular virtual drop-in sessions from Monday - Friday, 1pm-2pm, during term time, or you can book an appointment to talk to a Wellbeing Advisor.
All BU students can sign up for free to Togetherall, an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programmes, resources and peer support. Clinically-trained practitioners are also available 24/7 and it’s all completely anonymous. This can be a good resource if you're not sure about contacting us, or perhaps while we're processing your registration or between appointments.
Marking Ramadan during revision
Ramadan Mubarak to all our staff and students who are celebrating Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan overlaps with when you may be starting to revise and prepare for your assessments, we would like to remind students of the importance of looking after yourself and consider the impact that fasting may have upon your preparation for and sitting of exams and assessments.
Things to consider include:
- Planning schedules and meals and ensuring you are able to access food at sundown for breaking the fast
- Getting the required nutrients via a healthy, balanced evening meal along with hydration and rest
- Staying indoors or in the shade and limit physical activity, resting if possible.
The university will make reasonable efforts to accommodate religious observance by students. Where religious observance causes difficulties in submitting or sitting an assessment it may be possible to accommodate this under the BU Exceptional Circumstances policy.
BU’s Faith and Belief policy can be found in the Conduct & Welfare section of the Important Information page.