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Starting university can be more than a little stressful – a fresh routine, a host of new faces and lots of different things to remember. You can easily end up feeling like it’s all a bit too much.  

To help you find your feet and keep the nerves at bay, we’ve put together a list of our stress-busting study bag essentials – those little items that keep us calm and focused when we’re feeling a bit anxious.

Pop a few of these in your bag to help make life that little bit easier. That way you can focus on the more important stuff like studying, revision… oh and having fun.

Study bag essentials

A nice cool drink

You’ll be taking in lots of information over the next few days so it’s really important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water not only helps you to stay focused, it’s also great for calming the mind if you start to feel a little anxious. Stop for a moment, take a few gentle breaths and enjoy a couple of cooling sips.

A few blank pages

You’re going to be making A LOT of notes this week – different classes, lecturers, room numbers – but a handy notepad isn’t just great for organisation. If you’re a tad overwhelmed, don’t discount the positive effect that jotting down your thoughts can have. Putting pen to paper is a great way of expressing how you feel and can really help to clear some space in your mind. Don’t forget to write a very quick ‘done-list’ at the end of each day to reflect on what you’ve achieved.

A tasty snack

It’s a fact that what we eat affects how we think and feel, so don’t forget to pop a healthy snack in your bag to stay well fuelled. A nutritious bite will ensure your energy levels are topped up and can also help to get rid of that horrible dry taste that comes with stressful situations. The odd sweet treat is also great for a quick boost of energy – just don’t overdo it!

A few favourite tunes

Phones and electronic devices are must-have items for most of us. Make yours a mindfulness machine by loading it up with some top tunes that lift your mood and help to relax. There are also loads of great apps and podcasts for beating stress – why not download the Headspace app and try a few mediation techniques?

A good book

Even if your first week’s looking pretty full on, it’s important to take time out to chill out and unwind. Spend half an hour with a good book or your favourite magazine and let your mind wander. Having something else to focus on can be really good for taking your mind off the things that are making you anxious.

A little refresher

If things do get a bit too much, you might need to take a few moments to stop, refresh and gather yourself. If that’s the case it’s good to have a couple of confidence boosters at hand – a nice cool face wipe perhaps or maybe some aftershave or chewing gum. Whatever you choose, you’ll feel better just knowing you’ve got it if you need it.

Remember everyone gets nervous when they start something new; it doesn’t mean you won’t absolutely rock it! And remember, if you do need some extra support, we’re here to help. Pop into Pause, our drop-in centre in Digbeth or call our Access Centre.