AECC UC Wellbeing Champion on strategies for coping with stress

Triniti Dancy is a First Year Master of Chiropractic student and is the AECC University College Wellbeing Champion. She runs our Wellbeing Instagram account, @aecc_wellbeing, and is also a Student Ambassador. She also works with our Access and Participation team, working to ensure that all individuals have the support to access Higher Education.

Reflecting on what has been a difficult year for many people, Trin shares some strategies for coping with stress and anxiety.

Trin says:

“Stress and mental illness manifest differently for everyone. I have pulled together some strategies that work for me, but might not work for others. I hope these are helpful. Remember: all of these strategies take practice and you will get better at them over time:

  1. Make time to regularly reflect on how you are feeling. Sometimes emotions get pushed to the side when life gets busy.

  2. Understand your emotional limits and when you need to take a break from studying/working/socialising.

  3. Determine how frequently you need to take a break and prioritise yourself (or as often as possible).

  4. Try to do at least one small thing each day to better your mental health; when you feel up to it, do something big!

  5. Create a checklist of all the things you would like to achieve/have achieved throughout the day – allowing you to reflect on your daily successes.

  6. Have regular catch-ups with someone about what has been happening and how you feel. You might want to contact our Student Services team to arrange to speak to one of their advisers. You don’t have to feel any specific way to book an appointment. I personally have regular appointments with Student Services and increase frequency when needed. Among other things, these sessions allow me to reflect on my growth, which is empowering. You could also try journaling, if you prefer.

  7. Learning more about what your mind and body are experiencing can be extremely helpful; general knowledge on stress and other mental health issues can also help you to help others.

  8. There are many videos and apps that can guide you through meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. There is also a strong relationship between physical and mental health, thus exercise can help relieve stress. Find something that you enjoy e.g. dance, skipping, hula hooping, weight lifting, cycling.

  9. There are a number of other techniques that you can try. These include acknowledging five things you can see around you, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. You can also try using anchoring phrases and affirmations to help.

  10. Think about your breathing. You can try the 4-7-8 breathing technique, in which you inhale for a count of four through your nose, hold your breath for seven, and then exhale completely for a count of eight. In a similar way, diaphragmatic breathing involves fully engaging your stomach, abdominal muscles and diaphragm when breathing. This helps you to fill your lungs more efficiently.”

Who to contact

You can find out more about the Mental Health services available to students here.

Our Student Services Advisers can offer advice and guidance on any practical issues including finding accommodation, local services such as travel and transport and health and community services.

Our Study Skills tutors offer 1-1 and group support for students to help with developing independent study skills and strategies.

Available to all EU and international students, our English for Academic Purposes tutor offers help with developing academic language, communication and study skills through 1-1 tutorials and small group work.

Our Wellbeing Advisers support the wellbeing of all students, and support those with mental health difficulties or difficult life circumstances. Students can seek advice and guidance for any concerns about their wellbeing.

Our Counselling Service provides support for managing any emotional or personal issues in a safe and confidential setting.

You can email to organise Wellbeing, Counselling, or Study Skills support sessions.

You can also follow @aecc_wellbeing, @aeccsu, and @studentservicesaecc on Instagram.


Above: Trin Dancy