Anxiety tips for university students

Starting university should be fun, right? 

For many of us and our children, we’ve been lucky to experience the elation of finding the right university, the right course, and the right accommodation to go with it. The excitement of a fresh start and new-found independence swells in the months leading up to it… then the big day arrives, and it feels like your first day at school all over again. There’s a bout of enthusiasm and excitement, but it’s overshadowed by nerves and feeling overwhelmed, which can last a while longer than expected before you feel like you’ve found your feet.

It may be cliché to say, but everyone really is in the same boat. Worrying about making friends and settling into this new environment is very common, and though it may not be too obvious from the outside, it’s likely everyone’s got a few butterflies they’re dealing with. More often than not, everyone goes to a new university not knowing anyone else there, so taking comfort in knowing students will be feeling the same as you should make the task of socialising that little bit easier.

We’re personally going through this ourselves at home, and I know my daughter is very excited about moving away from home and having that element of independence, but I’m sure there’ll be a point where she begins to miss those familiar home-life elements. We’re so lucky in this day and age to have technologies to enable communication from afar to be so personal when catching up. 

I have two girls who are very hands-on with home chores, from shopping to cooking and washing (well, maybe not so much the washing!), which will stand them in good stead for the independence of university life.

For most, it’s not just moving to university, but to a whole new city, which is a massive thing. Researching practical places such as the local supermarket or library, and finding out what’s available to fill free-time e.g. a local gym or cinema can help reduce any anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed, as you begin to become familiar with your new home.

Approximately 50% of students experience homesickness, which can then escalate into anxiety and depression, so it’s important that a ‘home away from home’ is established.

For some, home is their comfy ‘hustle and bustle’ place with chatting, TV, music and pets. Playing music, or having the TV on fills the silence in a room, and can really provide that sense of company. It’s also super important to make that personal stamp on your room, so bring your favourite blanket or cushion, hang up some fairy lights, and decorate the walls with pictures of friends and family. 

Involving yourself in clubs and interests not only keeps the brain ticking along, but also opens up the opportunity to meet like-minded friends with similar interests. 

Looking after your own mental wellbeing is critical to staying healthy and getting the most out of this incredible life chapter filled with opportunity. Routine is one of the best ways to do this. Implementing activities into your daily routine such as going for a morning walk every day, or meeting friends for coffee can make this new life feel that little bit more like home. 

Routine is just as important for studying. An effective way to reduce stress is to break down any big tasks, projects, or assignments into smaller bite-sized tasks, and give yourself little breaks throughout the day to get some air and mentally recharge. Try and escape the university bubble every now and then by going away for the weekend or scheduling a visit back home. This helps get a sense of perspective for any worries or concerns.

Just remember, it is perfectly natural to feel anxious or worried about new chapters or challenges, and that includes going to university. Leaving our comfort zones is one of the most common causes of anxiety, but by addressing this throughout your journey you can stop it from dominating your life.

During hypnotherapy sessions, it’s important to not only tackle and replace anxiety with more positive emotions, but by using taught tools and techniques, you can use these as your ‘life tools’ to calm anxiety throughout each chapter of your life, no matter how big or small. 

So whether you’re a worried parent or a new student feeling like you’re struggling to settle in, try using these tips to enhance your experience and see the difference they can make. And most importantly, don’t forget to look after yourself!

Quote by Jay Shetty:

"You can’t do the big things if you are always distracted by the small ones."

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Solihull, B91

Written by Angela Leitch

Solihull, B91

Angela Cain Clinical Hypnotherapist
D.M.H, D.Hyp, CPNLP,

I specialise in stress and anxiety especially in teenagers and young adults. I use a unique combination of treatments and therapies including E.M.D.R, NLP, Meridian Tapping and Hypnotherapy.

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