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Eeep! When study is overwhelming! - Tips, ideas and coping strategies

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Just thought I’d make a post with some tips for study. I know this is something we can all struggle with.

These are all suggestions so feel free to take them or leave them! Hope they help!

If you only remember one thing, let it be this:

You are important. Your grades don’t define you.


Studying can feel isolating but know you’re not alone! Reach out – and find or make friends that can support you along the way.

If you’re having trouble finding some friends, join some local communities or clubs! They have lots at Uni’s and even stuff like open days are great ways to meet new people and find out what’s happening.

Study groups can also be a great way to meet people and stay motivated. Also remind yourself why you’re doing this; inspirational wallpapers or quotes can be super inspiring.

Remember the saying about the oxygen mask? If you can’t take care of yourself first studying will be harder. You are important. You know the drill - water, food, exercise, sleep.

Try to stay calm. Stuff that might be able to help include mindfulness, breathing exercises, colouring in, going for walks, journaling, listening to music…

If you’re struggling – reach out. See a therapist. Talk to your student counsellor. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Also lots of Universities and TAFE offer disability services – which includes conditions like Depression and Anxiety.


Find the right study space for you. Maybe that’s in your room, or a coffee shop, or the library. Some people find that noise helps; other people not so much. If you like particular kinds of noise, you can find ‘coffee shop’ noise or ‘rain sounds’ to help concentrate.

Make a plan. It helps to do it often so it becomes a habit. Anytime you get a due date, write it down. Maybe you could use a diary, planner, bullet journal or an app. I find the 30/30 App helpful - study for a bit and then break for a bit. You can also get add-on’s for your computer to block sites like Facebook if you find them too distracting.

Find out what study technique works for you. Do you like cue cards? Mind maps? Colour coding? Does highlighting stuff help you remember? Charts, maps, diagrams? Recorded lectures?

Goals! These are so important – not just writing down deadlines but rewarding yourself for meeting them. Even making smaller goals like ‘read two pages from a textbook’ can help. Break it down into bite size pieces, and don’t forget to reward yourself after!
51 Replies 51

When I am trying to study (or catch up on my career development points) I struggle to avoid procrastination. I do it so often. I struggle to work without music or something but at the same time that also makes it worse.

Hi MsPurple,

Ah! I think that's a trap we all fall into! What music do you listen to?

There's a few things that I said in my post like using a diary and an app. I run out of space in the post but I use the diary not just for when things are due but I lately I've also been writing down when I actually do things. It kinda feels like a mini goal just knowing 'hey I worked on that today'.

Another thing that might help is just saying alright - I'll do this for 10 minutes and then I'll go and have a cookie. So then even if it's a baby step it's still a step, and cookie! I read a book last year called the 1 minute habit and it was literally do things for just 1 minute everyday - the more that you can build that up the easier it can get to stick to!

Hopefully this can help a little!

Hello romantic_thief,

Nice to hear you changed your subject and are enjoying it a lot more now.

I used to go at a 10% kind of rule (like your 10 minutes and a cookie!). I almost never planned to do x assignment on any given day because my brain didn't like that, but I was pretty diligent in getting things done by their deadlines.

That said, I did find that I ended up putting more time on things I enjoyed and was interested in, so my marks probably did get skewed that way, but I wasn't ever too concerned by my marks.

I think being relaxed but focussed meant that when I did study, I took it in and I could still get decent marks despite not having as much practice as someone else. Which I was okay with, since it meant I could get involved in lots of volunteer stuff which I found more useful.


Community Member

Not so much of a study tip but one to deal with stress: I'm only in year 11 and absolutely terrible at schedules but if I'm feeling entirely overwhelmed, I find taking 1-1.5 hours out (generally in the morning or evening, when it's cooler and the light is really pretty) to go for a solitary walk or cycle somewhere quiet. I also usually bring along a camera so I can stop to take photos every now and then.

I find it's a bit easier to rethink and break down what I'm doing after a bit of a wander to collect my thoughts - although it's easy to end up using this to procrastinate if I do it too much.

As for study tips: If you know what you're doing for something but get too anxious to write it down, I sometimes write my initial notes out in an incredibly silly voice. Find humour in it, and structure the them like you're saying them out loud before redoing them later in a more practical form.

Hope those help a bit!


James1 - I'm really glad you found something that works for you! I definately agree that once you're interested in something things tend to be a lot easier, and I like how you pointed out you weren't too concerned about the marks. This is something my older psychologist used to really emphasise - just pass. I think many people (maybe not yourself but others) fall into the trap of wanting to get the best grades. It's okay to just pass.

birdleirdle - I love your tip about going outside for a walk or cycle! I love photography and that sounds incredibly relaxing 🙂 Maybe you could give me some tips! I always get stuck in knowing what to take photos of when I see the same thing all the time.

Made me giggle imagining everything in a silly voice! I've never heard of that one and thank you for sharing! I also love your username!

These tips are great thanks!

I definitely find that writing down everything I have to do and making lists helps me! So i know exactly what I need to do, and its so satisfying slowly crossing everything off
Exercise is also a big thing, gives you a bit of a break and is a great stress relief
I also like everything to be quiet so that I read my notes over aloud and think clearly (often i play a fan noise for a bit of background noise though so its not too quiet)

Hi Cesca1557,

Thanks for your post! I'm so glad you found the tips helpful! Sounds like you've got a few strategies down pat!

What do you use for your lists? I'm curious - I've heard of apps, scribbling them down, bullet journals etc - but it's always great to see everyone's own method!

I've never heard of using fan noise! What do you do in the winter then - brrr 🙂

I usually use a little notepad because i like physically writing things down but sometimes if im not at home and i think of things i need to do ill write them down in the reminders app on my phone (the one that just comes with the phone)
Some times i just suck it up and deal with the cold haha, but usually i play a fan white noise 'song' on spotify, i have a playlist made up with the song on repeat.

Community Member

Hi! Thank you for your tips, I like them.

As an international student myself, I found studying overseas is even more stressful. Not only because the cultural differences that make hard to talk deep with other local students, but also loneliness and the language difficulty that takes me more time to read and learn. Also, other life stress like financial problems, they all wear me out from time to time.

When I feel stress, I will turn to a friend or someone trustful to talk and speak out the stress. I feel like a Hi-q friendship/conversation will address a lot of the temporary stress. I also like to walk along the beach and blank my mind if I don't feel like talking. Sometimes I will see any films that would make me cry, crying is an 'activity' that would help reduce the pressure.

I also believe we don't have to be motivated all the time for that's gonna be so tired. I think we can 'waste our time' several times, rather than feeling guilty about it, accept it and feel your feelings will be a better way to actually get rid of the stress/anxiety/depression and better manage it.

Community Member

Hi Everyone, im interested in studying this year but online so no social pressures etc. one main thing i find i need to be doing to cope is by being productive, so am looking into options and studying is one of them.

im wondering what others experiences are when studying with MH issues? did you find it helpful to study as a coping mechanism? or was it too much to handle?

When studying with MH what did you find to be helpful in managing your time between studying, appointments and other life activities e.g schedule?

im not judging at all so please dont be afraid to comment, i wouldnt be asking for both good and bad experiences if i didnt want both sides to a story. all advice is welcome!