Since coming to university, it feels like there are a lot more things we need to think about. We’re grown-ups now; we have to pay rent and remember to buy food and toilet roll and sponges. As trivial as that may seem to older generations, it can really get on top of you, particularly when stacked on top of uni work, weekend work (which we need because student finance doesn’t love us 🙄), and trying to maintain a social life.
However, all these pressures take their toll in different ways for different people. A survey last year showed that more than a quarter of students have mental health issues, be it anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or any variety of things.
Whether or not you’re a sufferer of these issues, it’s important to look after yourself, both mentally and physically. So here are our top five self-care tips.
1. Drink lots of water
This one does seem obvious, and we all know we’re meant to do it, but often you can go a whole day and then realise that all you’ve had to drink was a coffee from the refectory. It’s super important to drink water, not only to, you know, keep you alive, but water also gives you more energy and can help to lift your mood.
Another one that we hear a lot, but it actually does work. Exercise=endorphins=happy. And as well as that, it can help to work out pent up feelings.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean joining the gym, or even going for a run. Just going for a walk can help to make you feel better. Stick some headphones in and wander round the block a couple of times; you’ll be surprised how much difference it makes!
3. Take a moment to breathe
If things are getting too much, don’t feel like you can’t take a break. If you’re in a lecture and you need a minute, you can leave. Go to the toilet, focus on something small, like the colours around you or little details on the wall. Take as long as you need until your breathing is back to normal and you feel grounded.
Or even if you need more time than that- let your days off be days off. You’re allowed to relax, and not feel guilty about it.
This may just be a personal preference, but lists can really help to organise your thoughts. Write down all the little things you need to do in a day- including showering, and eating- and every time you tick something off, you’ll feel a bit better. It also helps you to know what you have to do without forgetting it. It can help a lot to de-stress you when you’ve ticked off all the things on your list.
5. Remember your friends
Sometimes it can feel like the world is out to get you, and like nobody’s on your side. It isn’t true. Just talking to someone can help. It can feel like even your best friends don’t want to hear it, but they do. There is always someone who loves and wants to help you, and odds are, some of your friends need the same kind of help. We just all need to support each other.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you can contact the university’s mental health and wellbeing advisors via email – firstname.lastname@example.org- or phone, on 01242 714542