Advice and Anecdotes For Navigating Stress


Personally, it doesn’t take much to find myself getting stressed out. I have always been the type of person to worry about something right up until the moment it is finished, and no longer need to concern myself with it. This trait is both a blessing and a curse.

On the outside looking in, it appears that I have a very productive and well put together lifestyle, but behind closed doors there is a palpable sense of anxiety, and a lot of pressure where, really, there needn’t be any at all. Admittedly, this could be blamed on my experience with a panic disorder, rather than the work itself. Regardless, the experience of stress — and the need to consistently deal with it — is universal, just to differing extents.

With stress recently being one of the most frequent themes in my life at university, I’ve picked up on a few different methods on dealing with stress that are quite effective. Of course, different things work for different people, but if you currently feel that you are struggling with stress, give these a try.

Being a second-year film student — and someone with a keen interest in art across the board — I most frequently turn to escapism: watching a film; reading a book, or listening to a record are all good ways of doing this. Partaking in a hobby is almost always a really effective way to reduce stress — exercise; cooking, or meeting friends, are also all great examples of escapist actions, which can melt your stresses away for a short while.

Obviously, this has to be done within reason — if you spend all of your time avoiding your problems by hiding behind the pages of a beloved book, you will eventually create more trouble for yourself. Self-discipline is therefore important. To counter this, I tend to use these actions as reward for getting a certain amount of work done.

Another good idea is to split your workload up into clearly defined chunks, and to plan ahead. It will always seem easier to read a thirty-page essay in three ten-page chunks, or to write a two-thousand-word essay in four five-hundred-word pieces. Planning ahead also makes the assignment process a lot easier, as you can stop worrying about trying to remember all that you are yet to do.

Routine seems to be a Marmite strategy amongst students — some love this method while others hate it. In any case, it can be really helpful — even when vague — as it ultimately alleviates the stress of otherwise trying to piece together where you can slot work in efficiently, to maintain a good work-life balance.

When stress builds to a point of near-burn-out, a reset is necessary. If what is causing you to stress is not time-based, take the time you need to relax, and clear your mind, before tackling what needs to be done. From there, split each task into more manageable monsters to contend with. Focus on doing the easiest first, which will eventually lower the to-do list until it is no longer intimidating.

There are many ways to alleviate stress, with some of these echoed above. Of course, none of these methods will change things in an instant, but stress tends to emerge from several requirements being asked of you at one time. Loosening the stress to a point, where you can fathom undertaking the list of things to do can make a huge difference. Be gentle; take care of yourself and take your time — you will get there.


Journalist, poet and 2nd year Film Studies student. Author of Portrait of a City on Fire, published by Impspired.

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