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Coping with Stress

Stress is a natural feeling, designed to help you cope in challenging situations. In small amounts it can be good, because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, such as during exams.

But if you are feeling very stressed or feel you cannot manage stress, it can lead to mental health problems such as low mood, anxiety and even depression. It can also affect your academic performance. So it is important to know the signs that you are stressed and remember support is available if you are finding hard to cope.

Signs You Might Be Stressed

There are lots of possible signs of stress.

Stress can make you feel:

  • irritable;
  • anxious;
  • like you cannot enjoy yourself;
  • worried a lot of the time.

You may start to:

  • have sleep problems;
  • find it hard to concentrate;
  • bite your nails, pick your skin or grind your teeth;
  • snap at people;
  • feel short of breath or breathe very fast.

Other symptoms of severe stress are:

Physical Symptoms

  • headaches or dizziness
  • muscle tension or pain
  • stomach problems
  • chest pain or a faster heartbeat

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 and people


Things That Can Help with Stress

Short periods of stress are normal and can often be resolved by something as simple as completing a task which cuts down your workload, or by talking to others and taking time to relax.

It might also help to:

  • Work out exactly what it is that’s making you feel stressed. For example, is it exams, feeling overwhelmed by homework or friendship/relationship problems? Then seek support from someone in school and work with them to ease the pressure you are under.
  • Try to have a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and take time to relax as well as working and studying.
  • Try not to worry about the future or compare yourself to others.
  • Try relaxation and breathing exercises.
  • Try to plan your time to help you keep track of your work. Break it down into manageable chunks so you can keep up with deadlines.
  • Try talking to a friend, someone in your family or someone in school about your stress.


  • Do not try to do everything at once – set small targets you can easily achieve.
  • Do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into making yourself feel better.
  • Try not to tell yourself that you are alone – most people feel stressed at some point in their life and support is available in and outside of the academy.

Support is always available if you are finding it hard to manage and cope with stress. Speak to your tutor, Head of House, Assistant Head of House, one of our trained Mental Health First Aiders or any member of staff and they can help! See below for links to external support as well.

NHS Calming Breathing Exercise for Stress

MIND 14 Ways to Beat Exam Stress

NHS Tips on Surviving Exams

NHS 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing 

The Samaritans 

Young Minds Stress Advice

The Children's Society