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Five ways to look after your mental wellbeing at university

We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves to help you boost your mental health whilst at university.

13 Apr 2018

Stress Awareness Month is upon us and we’re fully dedicated to ensuring that any stresses you have are manageable. The wellbeing and happiness of our students is always important to us and good mental health also has the advantage of improving productivity and performance — important factors when studying at university. We know you, our students, want to achieve great things whilst here at UCA, and ensuring you look after your mental health is vital in helping you to accomplish your goals.

We’ll be celebrating University Mental Health Day on 19th April, across all our campuses, featuring advice stalls and stress management seminars, as well as wellbeing walks, yoga classes and games.

Here are our five top tips to stay stress-free at uni:

With looming deadlines and the pressure of finding the right career lingering over you, catching a few more Zs every night is a good way to aid your concentration and healthy brain function, as well as emotional wellbeing.

  • Get into a routine of going to bed at the same time every day (preferably at a reasonable hour!)
  • Limit caffeine from your diet to avoid bouncing off the walls all night.
  • Avoid big meals and alcohol before bed — give your body time to wind down.
  • Turn your phone off when you’re trying to sleep and attempt to clear your head of distractions.

Sometimes when we’re feeling down or unmotivated, taking some time out to do something we enjoy can be all we need to perk ourselves up a bit. This could be as simple as reading a book, cooking a tasty dinner, or going for a stroll around the park.

 

Leave bad vibes and negative feelings behind and focus on spending time doing something that makes you feel happy and energised.

With classes to attend and multiple projects on the go, it can be easy to forget to make time for exercise. Many studies have shown a positive correlation between physical activity and mental wellbeing, so it’s a good idea to make sure you take the time to get up and move around between all your other commitments.

Whether it’s choosing to walk instead of getting the bus, having a kick-about in the park with your friends, or taking part in a local yoga class, find something you enjoy and stick at it.

At university, you’re probably in the midst of balancing coursework and revision, a part-time job, planning for your future career, and maybe even attempting to keep a social life too! This can leave little time for meal-prepping and blitzing up green smoothies every morning.

However, much like exercise, the correlation between good mental wellbeing and a reasonably healthy diet is no joke. So, between all the pot noodles, take-away pizzas and post-night-out kebabs, it’s a good idea to try and squeeze in a few vegetables too.

There are a lot of online resources out there designed to give you advice about eating well on a student budget, such as NUS Advice, BBC Good Foodand Food Network. Check them out!

Whilst we hope that your experience at university is positive, full of happy times and exciting experiences, it’s not always fun and games. It’s also hard work and a lot of change, and sometimes this can add up to feel lonely and difficult.

Taking the time to talk to each other and look out for each other can make all the difference to someone having a bad day, week, or month. If you’re struggling, try talking to your friends, your lecturers, or giving your family a call back home.

 

When it comes to mental health and wellbeing, everybody is different, so find what works for you. It could be as simple as cutting back on the time you spend on social media, talking to people you trust about your worries and concerns, removing yourself from stressful situations, or just taking a break and doing something you enjoy.

If you are concerned about your mental health and you don’t know where to turn — there are a variety of support networks available to you. As well as our new Listening Post service, you can talk to close friends, family, or even a doctor or a councillor. Our dedicated Library & Student Services team here at UCA also offer a range of other support options, as well as a variety of online networks available to help as well. Kooth.com is an example of a free, safe and anonymous online support space for young people.

Read more about the importance of mental health from student blogger Deanna Crisbacher.