Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to speak openly and raise awareness of the causes and impacts of stress.

Stress Awareness Month

According to the charity Mental Health UK, stress can affect any person at any stage of life and can occur due to a range of different factors.

Signs of stress can include muscle aches and tension, chest pain, nausea and stomach aches, headaches, irritability, overwhelm, lack of confidence, restlessness, changes in habits, racing thoughts, trouble sleeping and memory problems, among other symptoms.

To help beat stress, we all need to work towards a more balanced working and studying life. One step towards this might be to prioritize what is most important, giving ourselves permission to let go of things that matter less to us.

Taking time out to pause, reflect, breathe, and take a break can also help us to introduce some calm into our routine.

The mental health charity MIND recommends ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ to help reduce stress. This involves:

  • Connecting with friends and family
  • Being active through exercise
  • Learning new skills
  • Giving through small acts of kindness or volunteering
  • Taking notice of what’s around you by being mindful

Similarly, the Better Help Therapy Platform recommends the following research-backed stress relief solutions:

  • Spending time with others
  • Using breathing exercises and meditation
  • Trying progressive muscle relaxation and other grounding techniques
  • Taking part in physical activity, such as yoga or walking
  • Addressing any root causes through lifestyle shifts
  • Taking up art and other hobbies
  • Spending time outdoors in nature
  • Venting your feelings through journalling
  • Reframing your negative thoughts
  • Undertaking therapy

If you’re feeling stressed about upcoming exams, University of Kent’s Student Support and Wellbeing Team are on hand to provide wellbeing and stress management advice during exam season.

A person sitting behind a pile of books

Are you looking for ways to relieve stress? Here’s a list of resources available and designed to help with managing stress, especially during this time of the year.

Check out the Keeping #ExamCalm Podcast

Gain insight into revision tips and information about support services available to you during the exam period.

Get out into nature with the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Join other students, staff and community members at this sustainability hub centred around growing food. Open sessions are on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am until 2pm.

Get active with Kent Sport

At Kent Sport, there’s something for everyone with the ALL ACTIVE programme. No commitment is required – you simply turn up and take part in fun, relaxed, non-competitive sporting activities. Check out the Couch to 5K programme, designed to get you comfortably running each week in relaxed and sociable sessions, every Thursday from 12-1pm.

Join the International Wellbeing Group

International students have a dedicated weekly peer support group which meets virtually every week for games, chats and support. Open to international students at Kent at any stage of study.

Practice Mindfulness

Come along to free, drop-in mindfulness meditation sessions for all University of Kent students, every Wednesday at 1pm. Sessions are one hour long and involve an introduction to a weekly theme followed by a guided meditation, then opportunities for discussion.

Get Sociable and Connect

Looking for the chance to meet someone new? Join Just Coffee, an initiative for all Kent students that will match you with someone new who’s looking for a coffee break.

Or sign up for the Walking Buddy Scheme, which will match you with another student interested in exploring the outdoors.

University of Kent Student Support and Wellbeing also offer emergency support for mental health, counselling to help you rebalance and reframe your thoughts; disability, long term health conditions and neurodivergence support; and wellbeing support for international students, among other things.

If you’re feeling stressed, don’t suffer in silence. You’re not alone. Reach out, speak up and seek support.