Stress and anxiety

It's common to feel stressed or anxious at times, particularly if you juggle a part time job with university work, or worry about assignments or about how to make the next step after graduation.

It might not seem like it when you're feeling down, but you can take steps to reduce levels of stress and anxiety, and the University has some excellent services to help you.

Practical steps

Stress and anxiety can be managed or reduced by making some quite minor, positive lifestyle changes. It's easier than you think to train yourself to cope with stress more effectively, and reduce the levels of anxiety you may experience.

Exercise

Exercising at least once a week is a great way to reduce stress. It helps your body produce endorphins, which make you feel good. Regular walks of 30 minutes can help reduce stress levels, but it's even more effective to do higher intensity forms of exercise. Even if you don't feel like it at the time, you'll feel the benefit afterwards. Joining one of the Union's sports clubs or using the University's extensive sports facilities could also help with stress as the social contact, along with the physical exertion, should help improve your mood.

Eat a varied and healthy diet

Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. The NHS recommends that you eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables per day to lower the risk of health and wellbeing problems. When you're busy and tired it can be tempting just to grab another pizza or ready meal, but cooking from scratch can be therapeutic as well as being healthier.

Try meditation

It might sound simple, but sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day can really help with stress levels. If you've never tried meditation before, it's worth a go. Good breathing techniques can put you in a more relaxed state as they send oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm you down and beat stress. The Student Counselling Centre runs free meditation workshops in the University Union.

Take regular breaks

Short breaks between working can help you switch off. But longer breaks are important too. How about taking the weekend off to relax? Make time for fun and for yourself even if this means that you have to schedule time away from your work. You'll come back to your work feeling fresh, and you'll be more productive as a result.

Get the right amount of sleep and sign off social media

Try to get a good amount of sleep - between seven and eight hours is recommended for adults by the NHS. It's easy to spend a lot of time on social media sites and answering emails, texts and phone calls. Sociability is fun – but too much of it, and too much computer time, can lead to more stress, and can make it harder to relax and sleep.

Stop smoking

Some people say they smoke to relax, but research suggests that nicotine inhibits the action of serotonin - a neurotransmitter thought to contribute to feelings of wellbeing and happiness. The NHS Stop Smoking Service has over 40 clinics across Leeds and can help you give up smoking for good. 

Listen to music

Listening to music can help calm you down and put you in a better frame of mind. If you're feeling stressed, putting on some calming music while you work could really help.

Talk about it

Sometimes talking about how you are feeling to your friends and family can really help. Talking helps create a sense of order to those jumbled thoughts. Choose someone you trust and chat about how you're feeling. If you can't see them face to face, drop them an email or give them a call.

Where to find help

While there's lots you can do on your own to help reduce stress or anxiety, there are also several sources of help and advice you can access if you want to speak to someone about your situation.

Student Advice Centre

The Student Advice Centre in the University Union offers support on a wide range of issues that might be causing you stress or anxiety. Their trained staff can give you confidential advice on subjects including finances and hardship; general, mental and sexual health; personal relationships; housing problems; employment; crime and safety and academic issues.

Personal tutor

If you're experiencing particular personal or academic difficulties, your Personal Tutor can support you and, if necessary, refer you to other specialist sources of advice and support such as Skills@Library, the Student Advice Centre or the Student Counselling Centre. You can find out who your personal tutor is by logging in to the Leeds for Life website.

Skills@Library

Skills@Library provides academic skills teaching and e-learning support to help you find, use, apply and present the information you need. You can attend the drop-in session to speak to a Learning Advisor who can support your academic study and offer advice to help you find, evaluate and manage information for your essays, dissertations or literature reviews. They can also advise on referencing your work correctly.

Your GP

You can always talk to your GP if you're feeling stressed or anxious. Patients of Leeds Student Medical Practice can make an appointment by ringing 0113 295 4488.

Universities Chaplaincy

The Universities Chaplaincy is made up of a team of chaplains from a number of church backgrounds, some of whom are ordained ministers. They're experienced at listening and offering support, guidance and accompaniment to those of all faiths or no faith.

Residence wardens

All University residences have wardens (members of University teaching or administrative staff) who you can go to during term time for advice or for help sorting out any problems. Wardens at all residences hold advisory sessions during term time, no appointment is usually necessary. Most sites also have resident sub-wardens, usually postgraduate or mature students, which means there's someone there 24 hours a day during term time in case of emergencies. 

Your school's Undergraduate or Postgraduate Office

Your school's aspirations go beyond academic and teaching excellence; they're also concerned for your welfare outside the classroom. Many schools have have a dedicated Student Support Officer that you can contcat for support and guidance.

International Student Office

The International Student Office provides support to ease the transition to life in the UK and help you make the most out of your time in Leeds. This includes help opening UK bank account, getting registered with a doctor and support if you're feeling isolated or suffering from culture shock. They also provide free advice on immigration law if you have any concerns about your visa.

Leeds Nightline

When there's something on your mind, big or small, Leeds Nightline are there to listen and to give you the time and space to talk things through. When you're under pressure, making a decision, facing a crisis, feeling down, or just need to chat about something, you can get support by calling 0113 380 1381 for the listening service or 0113 380 1380 for the information service.