How to Identify and Manage Stress

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It’s not unusual to feel stressed, some people may even find stress useful or motivating. However, if stress is having a negative impact on how you feel physically, mentally and also how you behave, there are things you can try that may help.

According to the NHS, stress can cause many different symptoms such as: 

Mental Symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Struggling to make decisions
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Constantly worrying
  • Being forgetful
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Being irritable and snappy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Avoiding certain places or people
  • Drinking or smoking more

Physical Symptoms 

  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Stomach problems
  • Chest pain or a faster heartbeat

Things you can try to help with stress:

Identify the cause

Try to work out what’s making you feel stressed. Some examples of things that may cause you stress include: 

  • Feeling pressure at work or unemployment
  • Family difficulties 
  • Financial problems 
  • Health or Bereavement
  • Exams or study deadlines 
  • Lack of sleep

Being deprived of sleep is a key factor of feeling stressed. According to Public Health England, for adults, it’s recommended you get between 7-9 hours sleep per night. Continuous lack of sleep, can affect your wellbeing and cause stress and anxiety. 

If you’re not sure, try writing down what you’re doing each time you feel stressed. By logging your feelings, you may recognise a regular pattern. Keeping motivated, and making a daily timetable can help. However, don’t get too disheartened if you can’t complete everything. Read more on our Staying motivated whilst Self Isolating blog here. 

Once identifying the cause of stress, look at how to solve the problems that are within your control.

Have ‘Me’ Time

It may be difficult to have time to yourself each week, but try to do something you love that makes you happy and relaxes you. Activities could include going for a walk, reading a book, having a bath or listening to music.


Physical exercise has the potential to lower stress levels and improve your quality of life, both mentally and physically. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy and try to fit it into your routine, even if it’s walking the dog. 

Exercising regularly can have a positive effect on your mood by relieving the tension, anxiety, anger, and mild depression that often go hand-in-hand with stress. It can also help boost confidence and the quality of your sleep.


With the current situation, it may feel lonely social distancing from family and friends. However, technology has enabled people to stay connected 24/7. Having support from your family, friends and colleagues may reduce your stress levels. 

You might find it hard to explain to people why you feel this way, but talking to someone could help you find a solution. If you feel like you need support, reach out to the various charities that are here to help. This includes: Mind, Young Minds, Time To Change, Samaritans, NHS, Rethink and many more.

You can also contact us via our website or call line to speak with our Staff or Student Health and Wellbeing First Aiders. Click here to find out more.