If you have ever suffered the misfortune of experiencing burnout during your studies as a student, you will already be aware of how important it is to minimise study stress. If you are to realise your potential as a student, it’s fundamentally important to minimise the amount of disruptive study stress. Stress, alongside excessive partying, a baked bean dominated diet and the opposite sex, is right up there with the most dangerous threats to  maintaining peak performance while you’re at college at university.

If you are being proactive and looking for ways to minimise study stress, you’re in the right place. Read on for our four top tips to beat study stress. Try these simple steps to help yourself realise your academic potential this semester and for the remainder of your course.

Tips to limit study stress

Get to know your student dean?

Who is my student dean and what do they do, I hear you ask? You may not yet be aware but your student dean is on campus to give confidential help and advice. If you have any questions, from student finance, to personality clashes in the classroom, your student dean is the guru to seek out on your campus.

“your student dean is there for you if you have any questions, from financial help to emotional support”

When you’re studying, ask yourself the right questions

You may not have viewed your studies from this perspective before but a key to effective studying can be to ask yourself the right questions. As a student, and in life, it pays to be curious. In fact, I firmly believe that curiosity is a more important quality than raw ‘intelligence’ when studying. Ok so I can imagine your disbelief at this point, however give it a try before you cast aspersions. If you can view your course as an intellectual playground, with problems and assignments imagined to be play equipment within that playground, it can be so much easier to revel in the challenge and can aid you to get into a state of deep concentration, or ‘flow’, more easily. Your course is your playground, to explore and discover. Repeat after me…

Be sure to include some ‘free research time’ in your schedule, to study things that you freely choose to

To help keep you engaged, you can incorporate some ‘free choice’ study into your schedules and routine. You can view your free choice study time as your ‘special time’, to do further exploration and deeper research, around the areas of your official programme that you personally find most interesting. Everything is much easier if you can keep it a little fun, personally interesting and it’s liberating to freely choose some aspects of what you study.

Don’t neglect your body whilst you are training your brain

Reduce study stress increase calm

Healthy living is vital to perform at your maximum when you need to at university or college. Sleep, diet and exercise will help you to concentrate, minimise study stress and just help you to feel better all round!

Five top tips for healthy eating to boost academic performance are:

  1. Proteins are ‘brain foods’. Eating nuts, whole grains, fruit, fish, lean meat and eggs can help to keep you mentally alert
  2. Limit sugar. Refined sugars are notorious for creating fluctuating blood sugar levels which can interrupt your concentration and affect your moods.
  3. Minimise caffeine. If you’re anything like me, coffee and tea are the fuel that I rely on to get me through those long stints when an assignment is due. Unfortunately, like many of the finer things in life, moderation is the key. Too much caffeine can interrupt your sleep pattern. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest threats to your academic performance.
  4. Small is good! Eating smaller meals, more often, is a key recommendation from any nutritional expert that I’ve ever met. Regular moderate intakes of food can maintain a consistent blood sugar level throughout the day.
  5. Skipping meals when studying is big no! If you’re frantically typing at the keyboard to finish an assignment, it can be easy to skip meals. Avoid that trap as your brain needs both water and food to keep going. If you really don’t want to lose study momentum, a snack bar or a piece of fruit can keep you going until the next meal time.