Feeling overwhelmed? Tips for getting your studies on track

According to a 2018 study students are reporting higher and higher levels of stress. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the pressure of your studies and unsure of what to do next, don’t panic. We’ve gathered some tips together that will help you keep your head above water. And if you’re really struggling with stress, come down to PGSV’s wellbeing session ‘Minimizing stress and worry’ for professional advice and help.

Identify your stressors

 When you feel overwhelmed, you might feel as though you can’t get a grasp on the problem(s) in hand. This leads to you feeling negative about your course overall. Take time to identify what it is that is causing you to worry or feel unhappy: are you struggling because of workload, a lack of motivation or inspiration, or are you feeling distracted by other issues in other areas of your life? Getting to the root of what is causing you stress, whether it is related to studying or not, will help you to prioritize your next step.

Talk to someone

 It’s hard to focus on your studies when you’re going through a tough time. Whether it’s a flat mate, family member, or a staff member at your university or accommodation, reaching out to someone could really help you address the problems you are facing. They can’t necessarily give you advice, but they could point you to the right organizations who can. See the links at the bottom of the post for further information and support.

Get motivated

Always in library but feel like you’re not even making a dent? Try downloading a study plan - My Study Life is an app which helps you structure your time more efficiently. If your workload is just too intense, reach out to your supervisor or a lecturer on your course. They’d be happy to book in a one-to-one session to offer valuable advice and help with how to stay on track and keep calm. Similarly, if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, talking to one of your lecturers at the university might help you find inspiration in your subject matter - they might make you see the subject or topic in a different light.


We know it’s hard, but STOP procrastinating

To some extent as a student you have the freedom to manage your own time: for many students this freedom often leads to procrastination. Whether you’ve been leaving work until the last minute, putting off emailing a lecturer about a point you’re stuck on, or prioritizing your social life (FOMO is real!), procrastination is completely normal - and completely unhelpful if you’re already feeling overwhelmed. It’s simple - crack on with your studying through the day, then reward yourself with an evening out at a bar. Balance is key - uni is about having fun at the end of the day, but you do need to balance this out to avoid getting bogged down later in the semester. And if you’re really struggling to get things done, come down to PGSV’s wellbeing session ‘I’ll do it later’!

Try to keep healthy

Whether you’re a regular gym-goer or an exercise-phobe, maintaining a (fairly) healthy diet and lifestyle is key to managing stress. It’s common to neglect your health during university but, unsurprisingly, regularly trying to survive long night shifts in the library on red bull and coffee alone isn’t conducive to productivity. Keep hydrated, eat as healthy as you can, and try to keep active. Moreover, managing your sleep pattern - even if you’re a night owl! - will help you implement a study routine that sticks.

 Be kind t yourself         

 University is stressful, and your course may be taking over your life - but try not to push yourself too hard to keep up. Be kind to yourself - take regular breaks and treat yourself every once in a while.

 Being kinder to both yourself and others is a great way of keeping positive.

 We kicked off this week with National Kindness Matters Day on Sunday, and here at PGSV we want to continue the positivity. Take a look at the ideas on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s site - it might inspire you!

 To book a free place at the wellbeing workshops on 27th February mentioned in this post, email: nicolaarmstrong@pgsv.co.uk or pop down to reception to chat with Daisy, Shane or Johnny about how the benefits of the wellbeing workshops.






Wellbeing Workshops

We have invited Julie Rea, an experienced trainer and manager of student mental health services, to join us at Portland Green Student Village to deliver some wellbeing workshops. 

These workshops are free to attend; you just need to book a place, because numbers are limited.

If you find these workshops helpful, we may also run further wellbeing sessions in the future.  So bring along any ideas that you have about other wellbeing or mental health topics you would like us to cover in future workshops. 

4:15pm, 27th February: - “I’ll do that later.”  Are you putting things off?

How many times have you said, “I’ll do it later” or “I’ve got other things to do before I start that assignment”?

Do you find yourself putting things off – for example, leaving academic work until just before the deadline, then panicking your way to the final word count?  Are you perhaps putting off other things that you find tricky?  Yes?  Then this workshop is for you!

The workshop will explore the different reasons behind procrastination and some practical ways to help you get things done.  This is not a study skills workshop; rather it is an opportunity to understand yourself better, explore why you procrastinate.  It will help you to understand how to avoid procrastination and why this will have real benefits for you, your studies and your general wellbeing.

The session will start at 4:15pm and will last around 75 minutes (ending at 5:30pm).

To book a free place this workshops email: nicolaarmstrong@pgsv.co.uk or pop down to reception

6pm, 27th February - Minimising stress and worry

Are you feeling stressed out?  Are worrying about even the smallest of things – things that you wouldn’t usually worry about?  Yes? Then this workshop is for you!

Stress and worry can affect all of us at times, and sometimes we can feel a little overwhelmed by worry or by stressful thoughts and feelings.  This workshop explores what happens to our mind and body when we feel stressed or worried.

The workshop will also provide some great, straightforward, practical ‘take home’ tips on how to respond in these situations and how to reduce stress and worry.

The session will start at 6pm and will last around 75 minutes (ending at 7:15pm).

To book a free place this workshops email: nicolaarmstrong@pgsv.co.uk or pop down to reception

Beat the January blues this Blue Monday (21 Jan)

In 2005 Cliff Arnell, a lecturer at Cardiff University, appointed the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year. Arnell proposed Blue Monday signified the slump most people feel once the “initial thrill of New Year's celebrations and changing over a new leaf” is over and “reality starts to sink in.”

In truth, coping with the realities of student life can be a struggle. January marks the end of the festive period and the beginning of exam season - anyone would be forgiven for feeling a bit low this time of the year. We’ve pulled together five tips for students to help you survive Blue Monday 2019 and beat those January blues.

Be mindful this January

For students it is easy to become bogged down trying to balance studying with your personal life. It can all become overwhelming, and getting focused is difficult. Find time to give yourself space in which to become really aware of those nagging worries, separate what’s important, and realign your thoughts. If you’re struggling to do this, try an app or podcast. Meditate with the Headspace app, or download Rachael Kable’s The Mindful Kind podcast for stress-busting tips and tricks.

Plan events to look forward to

At the moment it may feel like your life is mapped around deadlines, but we promise there is light at the end of the tunnel. Having things to look forward to is key to maintaining some perspective. Plan a day out, organise a meal with friends or even (if you’re able to) book a weekend away just after your last exam. When you’re in the thick of it, remembering that life outside the library still exists could be just the lift you need.

Blue Monday... or Brew Monday?

Blue Monday is a well-established date in our calendars now, but remember - it doesn’t have to be. Take control of your Monday and repurpose the date. If you can, section out the afternoon of the 21st in your revision plan to do something positive. You could take some time for self-care, whether that’s a trip to the cinema, a few drinks in town or just an early night. Alternatively, take part in something positive for your community. Transform the 21st into Brew Monday by getting together with your friends or your family to raise money for the Samaritans and to catch up over a cuppa.

Always look on the bright side

Our last tip may sound simple, but it’s an effective one. It’s hard to keep the blues at bay in January, but one way of lifting your spirits is to try and find joy in the little things. Yes, it is cold and miserable at the moment. But... we are well past the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year), which means it’s already getting lighter in the mornings and evenings! It might seem silly but finding happiness in the little things helps to keep you grounded when it all gets a bit much.

Ask for help if you need it

Last year, Forth ran a study of stress levels in the UK and identified which stresses affected each age bracket the most. Their study indicated that students were “some of the most stressed members of society”. At the end of the day, while these tips are helpful we all know managing stress and our mental health is not easy. Never feel that you can’t ask for help, whether that’s by reaching out to a friend, utilising student services at your university or visiting your GP. We all need a helping hand from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.

For more guidance and information, please see the links below.

Student Minds

The Student Room


Calm Moment

Bright Knowledge

NHS - One You

Newcastle University Wellbeing

Northumbria University Student Support