Every student struggles with their workload from time to time, but while a little pressure can help with motivation, when you feel like you can’t cope it can be extremely detrimental to your health. So if you find yourself frequently biting your nails or pulling out your hair, then read on to discover the impact that stress can have on your body.

How does stress affect my body?

Stress may originate in the mind, but it also affects your body. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways and if you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms it could be a direct result of stress.

  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Pain or Tension
  • Sweating
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Poor Concentration

Prolonged stress can also cause high blood pressure.

How can I reduce stress?

Everyone reacts to similar scenarios in different ways so it’s important to identify your triggers and learn to recognise what makes you start to panic. It could be anything from financial pressures or a looming deadline to an awkward social interaction.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is to practice good time management. As tempting as it may be, don’t leave all of your work until the last minute, instead aim to have a draft completed several weeks in advance. It’s often getting started that’s the problem and once you’ve put a few words down the task may not seem as difficult as you first thought.

Some foods can help to reduce the likelihood of developing stress, while others can increase it. Caffeine and sugar can both act as triggers, so filling yourself up with energy drinks at the last minute may not be too advisable.  On the other hand salmon, turkey, dried apricots and sweet potatoes can all have a calming effect. It’s important to recognise that your diet could have an impact on how you’re feeling; ensure that you make enough time to get a balanced diet rather than skipping the cooking to indulge in high sugar, high fat, ready meals.

Where can I get support?

Many universities offer free counselling services where you can speak to someone in person or on the phone and discuss any issues. But if you’re finding that the stress is causing serious harm to your health then its best to speak to your GP. They are best placed to recommend a stress management group you could attend and may offer recommendations on changes you could make to your lifestyle.