It’s important to look after yourself at any time in your life, and being a student is no exception. With the pressures of living away from home, getting familiar with a new city, meeting new people, as well as coursework and university itself, both your physical and mental health should be a priority. Below are a few things you can do that will make a big difference to your overall health and well-being.
1. Sleep well
Pulling the odd all-nighter and having a late night out with your friends every now and then is fine, but not getting enough sleep affects chemicals in the brain which can make us feel low and anxious. So, make sure you get as many good night’s sleep as possible to feel refreshed and recharged – you’ll wake up with a more positive attitude ready to take on the day ahead.
2. Stay active
Regular activity and exercise is not only good for your waistline and physical health, but also for your mental health and wellbeing. When you exercise you’ll see an immediate boost in your overall mood because your body releases chemicals called endorphins and these endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. And you don’t need to run marathons to be active, even a brisk walk around the local park will help!
3. Help others
Whether it’s volunteering in the community, raising money for a good cause or a simple random act of kindness such as helping an elderly person with their shopping bags or giving up your seat on a train for a pregnant person, helping others can make us feel good and improve our self-esteem, whilst reducing stress and negative feelings.
4. Socialise with others
Long periods of being alone and isolated aren’t healthy, so interact with people regularly and grow your friendship network. Chat with others on your course, introduce yourself to fellow residents at your accommodation, join clubs and societies, get involved with any events at your university/college, accommodation or student’s union, volunteer in the community and embrace any work opportunities.
5. Enjoy yourself
University isn’t just about studying and deadlines. It’s important to have fun, laugh as much as possible and enjoy yourself. Whether it’s playing a team sport, watching the latest movie at the cinema, catching up with friends over dinner or getting lost in a novel, be sure to make time for doing the things that make you happy.
6. Maintain a balanced diet
Reaching for the convenience foods and sugary snacks might be an easy option as a student but they’re not the healthiest. These sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream which may cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy, but it will soon wear off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired and low. However, a balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by eating a well-balanced diet containing adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.
7. Stay hydrated
Similar to your diet, you should maintain a health intake of fluids. Avoid drinks high in caffeine, or at least drink them in moderation, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, particularly if you are drinking alcohol. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll become dehydrated which can cause headaches and make you feel tired and dizzy.
Following these simple tips will help to improve your health and well-being whilst at university. However, if you do experience any problems throughout your studies, no matter how big or small they may be, you should always speak to someone and seek advice. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a doctor, a support group, your university’s welfare department or a member of the Host team, they will be able to offer support, help and guidance.