4 ways to manage third term stress

24 April 2018

Exams, imminent deadlines, moving accommodation and your next steps after your studies... term 3 has all sorts of pressures that can cause stress. Here are 4 ways to help you manage it all.


There are all sorts of pressures in the third term which can cause stress: imminent deadlines or exams; getting ready to move out of halls or a flat-share; friends that you’ve made over the year may be leaving London, or you might be leaving yourself; perhaps you are thinking about your next step in education or work. The end of the academic year is a natural point for reflection, and you may be thinking about the things that you have and haven’t achieved over the year.

If you find yourself feeling stressed, it’s important to bear in mind that stress is a normal part of life for all of us. Here are a few simple things that can help you to manage it.


It can be hard to let others know that you are struggling, and you may worry about how they will react. But if you test out your assumptions about their response by talking to them, you may be surprised that their response is different from what you feared. Whether you are having academic, relationship or financial difficulties, if someone else is aware of the things that you are struggling with, they may be able to help you work through them. You are not alone, and it can be really important to build up a support network: friends, family, your tutor, your GP, and university support staff are all potential sources to whom you can reach out.  


Whether there is a piece of revision that you need to get stuck into, a job that you want to apply for, or a flat that you need to find, the sooner you get started the less stressed you’re likely to feel while in the process. Structuring is crucial. Break down the task into parts. How much time do you have, and how much time do you need to do what you need to do? Be realistic. Get started on things as soon as you can. Write a schedule and stick to it; structure your day and week, and - this is crucial - factor in breaks. Don’t just sit for long periods or try and work all day through – it’ll probably be counterproductive and tiring.


If you’re finding a particular situation stressful, it can sometimes feel like it will go on forever, or that things will never get better. Try to gently question these beliefs. Remind yourself of times when you’ve overcome stressful situations, or when the outcome has not been as bad as you’d feared. If you’re worrying about a grade, think about what the chances really are that you will get this, or what it will really mean if you do not do quite as well as you hoped. This is another example of a situation where it can be helpful to communicate with someone around you: talking to a friend or tutor may bring a different perspective that is really valuable.

Look after yourself 

Make sure that you’re eating regularly and that you are getting enough sleep – if you’re hungry or tired, this is likely to make stress harder to manage. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, particularly in the hours before bedtime, as both of these will affect the quality of sleep that you get. If you’re finding that stress is getting in the way of your sleep, try writing down your worries before you go to bed, or doing some gentle exercise or meditation before bed. Make sure that you are leaving time for yourself in your daily schedule to do things that you like, whether it’s meeting up with a friend, watching a film or going to the gym.

By Richard Harrison, Psychodynamic Counsellor at Student Psychological Services