The Students' Union at the University of Manchester recently voted to drop clapping, whooping and cheering in favour of "jazz hands" to help reduce anxiety amongst people for whom social situations can be very stressful. We've seen a big increase in stress and mental health issues in the work we do supporting students so we recognise what an impact this can have on a person's studies.
We also know that many people don't realise how technology can help reduce stress and help them feel more in control of their studies.
Change brings stress
According to the Guardian up to a third of the population will experience an anxiety disorder or panic attacks at some point in their life. Levels of stress and anxiety can change when we least expect it - but most people report an increase when they’re in a new environment, such as starting university.
It's understandable that students may feel overwhelmed with deadlines, a change of location, managing finances and the pressures of maintaining a good work/life balance. But, there are ways to help minimise the stress.
Useful apps and advice for anxiety
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and the Nike+ training app is a comprehensive and stylish app. It offers workouts of varying endurance, mobility and strength, from short, 15-minute workouts to longer endurance sessions, so you can constantly change up your workout and keep it exciting.
2. Take time out
The Calm app can help teach the skill of meditation, help encourage restful sleep, provides information on mindful movement and offers music to help you focus and relax.
Adult colouring books are all the rage, and Colorfy puts a digital twist on this calming technique, choose from a range of images from flowers to cute animals, just tap the section and colour away.
3. Planning and organising
Google Keep is an electronic post-it notes app that can make simple text notes and checklists - you can take pictures, use the touchscreen for handwriting/sketch input and record short voice memos. It has a nice, visual, tile-based interface and synchronises between app and the web. It also has location-based reminders, so you can set a note to notify you when you are in a specific location; your shopping list can ping you when you are in town, or the question you scribbled down to ask a lecturer will ping you when you are on campus.
4. Mental health support
Your Students Union will be loaded with plenty of useful help, advice and knowledge of local groups where you can talk with like-minded people. You can also contact Student Minds the UK's student mental health charity, they aim to 'transform the state of student mental health so that all in higher education can thrive'.
5. Finance management
Monzo is a new way of managing your banking. A few friends have tried this and are very happy about the positive money management it gives them. You can set spending targets as monthly targets for spending on things like groceries and going out.
You'll be able to see an overview of your account any time, sorted by what you spend on, with notifications if you’re spending too fast. It also appears to be great for travels, if you're lucky enough to have a break away during your studies, you can use the card all around the world.
6. Advice for accessible events
Events like a Students Union meeting can be a minefield for all sorts of reasons. Most people would understand the need to make rooms wheelchair accessible, but there are many other issues to consider. From removing physical barriers to avoiding loud music, we've pulled together our best top tips for accessible events
7. Extra help for students in Higher Education
Don't forget that students with anxiety may be eligible for the Disabled Student Allowances (DSAs) these are grants to help meet the extra course costs students face because of a disability or learning difference. DSAs are paid on top of the standard student finance package, or on their own.
You don't have to pay DSAs back and they're not counted as income when working out whether you get benefits or Tax Credits.
Use our free HE support checker to see whether you could be eligible for DSAs or other support.
How can AbilityNet help?
- Whether you are a student, student adviser, parent or guardian we can help
- Review our expert resources for mental health
- Call our free helpline 0800 269 545
- Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sign up for our student services monthly newsletter
- Take a look at our range of expert resources for students and advisors