Effective Coping Mechanisms for Managing Stress and Anxiety as a Student in Cambridge

Andie Riches

Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Psychology and Sport Science
Category: Sport

28 June 2024

As a student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, I understand the unique pressures that come with academic life in this vibrant city. Balancing coursework, research, and personal life in an intellectually stimulating environment can often lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. Over the years, I’ve discovered several coping mechanisms that have helped me manage these challenges effectively. Here, I will share the strategies that have been beneficial in my journey as a student in Cambridge.

Physical Exercise

Regular physical exercise is a crucial element in my stress management toolkit. Cambridge's beautiful parks and the River Cam offer excellent opportunities for outdoor activities like jogging, cycling, and rowing. Joining a university sports team or a local fitness class can also be a great way to stay active and meet new people. Exercise not only improves my physical health but also clears my mind, making it easier to tackle academic challenges with a fresh perspective. For those looking for structured workout options, the ARU Gym offers a range of facilities and classes to help students stay fit and healthy.

Structured Time Management

Effective time management is essential for balancing the various demands of student life. I use tools like Microsoft Outlook Calendar to organise my tasks and set realistic deadlines. Breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks prevents me from feeling overwhelmed and ensures steady progress. Allocating specific time slots for studying, research, and personal activities helps create a balanced routine that minimises stress. Anglia Ruskin University provides study skills resources to help students develop effective time management and organisational skills.

Seeking Support

One of the most important lessons I've learned is that seeking support is not a sign of weakness. Discussing challenges with peers, mentors, or counsellors at Anglia Ruskin University can be incredibly helpful. The university offers various support services, including counselling and mental health resources, which provide a safe space to discuss and address any issues. Additionally, connecting with fellow students who understand the unique pressures of academia offers a sense of camaraderie and mutual support.

Hobbies and Creative Outlets

Engaging in hobbies and creative activities outside of academia is a great way to relieve stress. Cambridge's rich cultural scene offers numerous opportunities, from attending a stand-up comedy show or theatre performance to participating in art classes or creative writing workshops. These activities provide a much-needed break from academic work and can allow you to express yourself in different ways, returning to your studies with renewed energy and creativity.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Although I don't practice mindfulness and meditation regularly, I have heard many fellow students and colleagues recommend them as effective strategies for managing stress. Taking just 10-15 minutes each day to practice mindfulness can help in staying grounded and focused. Cambridge offers several tranquil spots, such as the University Botanic Garden and Parker's Piece, perfect for a quiet meditation session. Additionally, guided meditations available through apps like Headspace and Calm provide structured sessions that are easy to follow.

While everyone's journey is unique, I hope that sharing these strategies can provide some guidance and support to fellow students facing challenges in their academic journey. Remember, it’s essential to find what works best for you and to prioritise your mental health as you pursue your academic goals.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.