Managing stress and your physical health whilst at university

27 August 2021

University can be stressful but maintaining your physical fitness can really help you to manage these stresses and strains. Here are my tips to help you stay on top of it all.


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle whilst at university can be difficult. There will always be a stressful coursework deadline, a sleep depriving night out, or you might simply be finding the whole university experience a bit full on. If you also have a mental health difficulty, then this can amplify these stresses all resulting in the reduction of your overall wellbeing.

However, one way to stop it becoming overwhelming is to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to achieving this.

Manage stress

Whether you feel the need to do well academically, be sociable or look like you have it together, you may be feeling some form of pressure. Remember it's ok that you feel this way, but it is important that you learn coping mechanisms for this pressure as it will only increase around exam or coursework submission periods.

Get a diary – Time management and staying on top of your workload is easy with a diary and will ensure you are prepared well in advance of any approaching deadlines. Last minute all-nighters will become a thing of the past (but you never did that anyway right!?)

Make time to relax – When life gets really busy, you need to get away from your desk and have some down time. Even if this means you have to pencil in time in your newly bought diary, finding the time to relax is well worth it. Go for a walk outdoors, interact with others, or even just make a cup of tea - finding some zen time will do you the world of good.

Avoid taking on too much – Avoid overloading your schedule with social commitments especially around deadlines and exams. Not only will this give you some time for yourself, but will also allow you to focus on the main task at hand - passing those assessments!

Here’s more information on stress and how to manage it

Look after your physical health

Good sleep – When you’re tired, your worries can become drastically exaggerated. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and get a minimum of 7 hours a night if you can. This will really help set you up for the day ahead.

For more information on coping with sleep issues

Exercise regularly – Staying active can really help with your mental health. If hitting the weights in the gym isn’t for you, more gentle forms of activity such as yoga or swimming will really help you unwind and the exertion from this will probably help you sleep better aswell.

Eating healthily – A balanced and nutritious diet is vital to help you feel good and think clearly. Remember to drink plenty of water as well.

Here are some ideas for cooking as a student

Manage your alcohol intake – Last but not least, the topic of alcohol. Although a large part of the university experience for many, and as fun as it can be, you just need to remember that moderation is key. Also, be mindful that alcohol can worsen depression and cause other health issues and if you’re drinking alongside taking other medication, be careful as they might not mix well. Your liver and wallet will thank you for going easy on the drinking! 

Here's more information and support around alcohol abuse

Adam Vidler

Updated by Student Support and Wellbeing in August 2021