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10 Ways to Deal with Final Year Stress

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By Jessica Kear

Like thousands of students around the world, I’m currently in the horror of my final year at Lancaster University. So far, it’s consisted of multiple breakdowns; the latest occurred when I found out someone in the flat had used up the last of my milk, meaning I couldn’t have a cup of tea.

I’m not going to lie to you, final year can be an exhausting, emotional, painkiller-ridden hell. This term, however, I’m determined to rid myself of all illness and get on with work as stress-free as possible. Here are the tips I’m following to ensure my survival to July (and graduation, yay!).

Plan your studies

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We’ve all been there. One minute, you’ve just started back after the Christmas break. The next, you have four essays due all in the same week, and you’re sat wondering where the time went. The key to a successful academic year is to plan, plan, plan. Plan your time out by keeping a calendar or planner to store all your important deadlines. Start them all early, and you’ll find it helps heaps with those stressful last weeks of the year.

Make use of all available resources

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You’ll never enjoy easier access to such a vast range of free resources as the ones available to you at university, so really make the most of it. Go to the library, read and take out as many books as is humanly possible, ask staff for help, go to drop ins, get career support, the list goes on. There are people there to help and support you, all you need to do is accept it.

Eat healthily

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This is a big one, as having a nice meal can really make all the difference. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to food. I never buy in frozen food and tend to spend hours in the kitchen making fresh meals for me and my housemates. For some (like me), cooking can be a real stress release, and a time to take a break from constant work.

If you don’t like cooking, or simply don’t have the time, just be sure to eat healthy. Eating unhealthily can really make you feel 10 times worse.

Get enough sleep each night

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No matter how stressed you are about an assignment, I can assure you it’s never worth losing sleep over. A decent night’s sleep is the key to feeling less stressed, and I’d really recommend shutting off your phone or laptop for the hour before you go to bed, as this will help. Also, try not to do any uni work on your bed, as this can make it harder to go to sleep too.

Exercise regularly

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Every day, make sure you get up and out of the house to take a break from work, even if it’s just a short walk around the block. We all know the exercise spiel about how it makes you happy, so I won’t bore you. Just try to enjoy 30 minutes of exercise a day, whether that’s a gym class, Pilates in your bedroom, or an early morning run. It will burn off the calories and also help with your stress.

Don’t forget to socialize

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Don’t let your work consume you. Enjoy a cheeky night out every now and again, go for drinks with friends after lectures, or make time to grab a coffee with your housemates occasionally. It’s important that you allow yourself to still enjoy the social aspect of university.

Enjoy time off with regular breaks from studying

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Everybody needs a break, and it’s not healthy for anyone to be consumed with work 24/7. So, treat yourself every now and then to a Netflix session, or, if you’re feeling extravagant, plan a day trip somewhere. You’ll find your work benefits tremendously from it.

Plan a budget and stick to it

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Don’t let money be an added stress. Budget your money from the get-go and identify your weekly allowance. I like to budget my finances in an Excel spreadsheet. 

Practice mindfulness

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Since stress is all to do with the mind, it’s important to make sure you look after your mind. Ways to do this include yoga, art, exercise, reading and meditation. Remember you’re always more important than your work.

Surround yourself with positive people

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This is one of the most important for me. Mad shout out to my lovely housemates and friends who are always there to listen, give me a cuddle, or make me a cuppa when I’m feeling stressed. Try to surround yourself with these people, rather than unsupportive ones who are likely to add to your stress.

I really hope some of these will help you deal with the stress-mess that is final year. If you work hard and live a balanced life, you’re bound to slay it and come out with the grade you want to get that job after graduation.

Good luck!

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