It is normal to feel under pressure while being a student, and it can help motivate us and take action. Stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the demands placed on us and our perceived ability to cope with these demands. Often students will report having too much to do and not enough time to do it, which can lead to procrastination and avoidance. Stress can also lead to fatigue, low mood and lack of motivation. Students also report having physical symptoms, like sickness, shaking, loss of appetite and sleep difficulties, from experiencing high levels of stress.

If your stress is related to exams and studying, please see our Exams and Studying section.

Top tips for tackling stress

It can help to learn to be kinder to yourself, which can impact how you feel in different situations. You can learn more about this in our Self-Compassion section.

Ensure you are taking good quality breaks. This might feel tough if you feel you have a lot to do with very little time to do it. Taking a good quality break, such as going for a walk, listening to a podcast or seeing friends, can help reduce stress levels. It may be difficult to not procrastinate here, and if you struggle with that please look at our Procrastination section.

Stay engaged with the things you enjoy. What do you enjoy doing? Keep a small list in your phone or piece of paper and stay engaged with these things. Time away from studying is tricky to allow yourself, but it will help in the long run.

Spend time in nature and be outside. St Andrews is host to many walks and beaches. You may develop a love out outdoor swimming or hill walking by joining a society, or maybe enjoy a walk or run around the town.

Ensure you look after your physical health by sleeping enough, eating and drinking and socialising. These are all important factors in maintaining our wellbeing.

What support do we offer? 

Student Services is here to help you if you are struggling with stress and your workload. We can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques and how to manage stress while you study.  You can book an appointment to speak to a member of staff or email for advice. You can also see our latest groups and workshops on our Instagram

Alternative Internal Support

You can access self-help through various University channels such as:

  • ShelfHelp, which provides eBooks or physical copies which can help you understand and manage stress.
  • SilverCloud, which provides various modules to work through at your own pace to help understand and manage the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that come with stress using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques.
  • TogetherAll - a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. (This service will be available until February 2023. After this time, we recommend that students reach out to SHOUT).

External Support

If you would like to access some self-help materials here are a list of alternative support resources.