Tips for How to Cope with Back to Uni Anxiety

Going back to university is exciting, sure, but for many students there is a sense of uni anxiety, especially if they have had a tough previous year of study, haven’t adjusted to life living away from home, or they have just enjoyed a good summer break and are not quite ready to go back to university and the stress and struggle of studying every day. Looking after yourself as a student during the summertime is a great way to set yourself up for the year ahead, but this isn’t always possible.

Here, we take a look at some things you can do to help with going back to uni anxiety. Remember, you are not alone and there are student mental health support programmes available to you, as well as national mental health charities should you feel the need to talk to someone about your anxiety or other mental health issues.

  1. Think about the reasons behind your back to uni anxiety

Young girl sitting on the floor being anxious

Sit down and take a deep breath and think through why you might be feeling anxious about returning to university. There could be any number of reasons why you feel this way. You might be worried about your degree itself, that you’re not performing to the standards that you expected. Other reasons to feel anxious could be that you’ve not settled in your university town, you might not have made any friends on your course, or you might be worried about looking after yourself from day to day.

  1. Face up to the issues

Young East Asian girl thinking anxiously

The best strategy to facing anxiety is to do just that, face it head-on. Ignoring a problem or issue that you are worried about will only make the problem grow even bigger in your mind. This can only be a bad thing for your mental health in the long-term. The worst thing you can do is to let your anxiety take over control of your day-to-day life.

  1. Create a plan to manage your study and workload

A student hand writing a plan for the year on desk

If managing the workload is the source of your anxiety, start early with your planning for the year ahead and have a plan of action to hit the ground running. As soon as you know your lecture schedule and any coursework deadlines, take a diary or calendar and write it down. This is a great way to plan ahead and to stay focused, rather than relying on an alert on your phone to tell you something is coming up. You can see it all laid out in front of you in ink, and this gives you a better way to plan and stay focused when the work begins.

  1. Practice self-care

Person practicing self care by reading in cosy bed

Self-care can mean different things to different people, but essentially it is all about looking after yourself both physically and mentally. Build healthy habits into your daily routine. This should always include a regular sleeping pattern (or at least getting plenty of sleep and rest when you need it), always make sure you get up and showered first thing in the morning when you wake up and learn coping methods.

  1. Understand your triggers and coping methods

Woman lying on bed looking sad

Knowing what makes you anxious and when will help you to understand when the feelings are building, and you need to do something about them. This is difficult to learn, but it is possible. Every person is different and will require different actions to ward off anxiety. For some people, it could be as simple as going outside into the fresh air for a walk around the block. For others, they might stick on their favourite song, read a chapter of a book, take a few deep breaths, or go for a nap. As you think more deeply about your anxiety and triggers, the coping methods that work for you will appear.

  1. Don’t be afraid to communicate

Friends chatting

It is important that you know that other students are feeling similar feelings to you. Other people around you might also be feeling anxious about their university life. Don’t be afraid to talk to others, to tell friends how you are feeling and talk through your feelings. If you feel that you need extra support, speak to your university or student’s union to gain access to counselling or therapy.

  1. Make some achievable plans and targets

A notebook and a mug saying Go Get Them on a desk

You don’t want to put too much pressure on your return, but building in some simple plans and goals can help you to get a clear mind about going back and give you targets to reach. By having little targets in your schedule, you can tick them off, stay motivated and treat yourself when you reach each one. As for plans, get in touch with some of your uni friends in advance of going back and plan to catch up in your first few days. This gives you something social to look forward to.

  1. Think about the positives of last year

Girl having a happy recollection and meditating

Take a step back to think about the positive things from last year. Even if it was only a small thing, consider the benefits that thing brought you last year and how you have that to look forward to this coming year. It could be a friend you made that you meet for coffee and lunch once a week, an interesting topic you enjoyed learning about, a sports team you played for, or the town you live in when at university. Whatever it is, think about the positives.

We hope that this has been helpful in providing you with a few tips to manage back to uni anxiety. It can be a tough time for many students who are anxious about returning to study for the year ahead, worried about their grades, future career prospects, or dealing with issues of living away from home such as loneliness or financial issues. There is help out there for you whatever it is that you are facing up to, and with a few of our hints and tips you might feel the anxiety and load has lightened a little bit. Please let us know if there is anything we’ve missed that works for you.