The ways in which everyone looks after themselves will always be different, but we share some tips and ways of managing stress, anxiety and other mental health issues faced in your time at uni. From practicing mindfulness to seeking support from counseling services, we'll share advice to help you maintain a healthy mind while navigating the challenges of student life.
When it comes to mental health, exercise can be a hugely underrated tool to help fixing the way you feel. Exercise releases naturally occurring endorphins in the human body. Endorphins are chemicals that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, whilst promoting feelings of pleasure and happiness, helping you feel more positive and energised, and seriously improve your overall quality of life.
So exercise can reduce your stress and improve your mood, as well as improve cognitive function, memory, and attention. All the things you need to make your life easier in class. For those of you struggling to get a good night's sleep, exercise really helps you get a solid 40 winks, crucial for maintaining a strong and alert mind.
Okay, this sounds good, so what sorts of exercise are best for fitting in with student life? First off, it's important for you to find exercise activities you’re going to enjoy long term, and can easily fit into your schedule. Don’t think you have to work through hours of workout videos to stay on top though, even short bursts of activity can have benefits for mental health.
Take yourself to the gym, go on a run, join a sports society and get involved, or even just take yourself out on a walk. If you’ve been sitting inside studying all day, anything to get you up and moving will get you in the right direction.
It’s all too natural to feel overwhelmed by your studies, social pressures, money stresses, and everything else you encounter at uni. Practicing mindfulness or meditation is a really beneficial activity to help you cope with your stresses and promote mental well-being. Mindfulness in particular is all about being present in the moment, observing your thoughts and emotions without judgement, and focusing on your breathing. By doing so, you’ll learn the essential skills needed to recognise and manage stress more effectively.
Mindfulness has all sorts of benefits you’ll definitely appreciate as a student:
Improve concentration and focus making it easier to study and retain information
Reduce anxiety and depression, two common mental health issues faced by students
By cultivating a greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings, you can learn to respond to them in a more constructive way, rather than getting stuck in negative thought patterns.
Improve sleep, crucial for both physical and mental health, by reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
Improve overall well-being, helping you feel more connected to yourself and others.
You can help clear your mind by trying guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, or even online or youtube follow along yoga classes. There are loads of apps, youtube videos and podcasts that you can follow along to, that will help guide you through your meditation sessions. With regular practice, you can reap the benefits of mindfulness and develop greater strength against stress.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting your mental health. For students, eating a balanced diet that includes foods that are good for the brain can help improve your mood, as well as your concentration and focus.
Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help support brain function and improve your mental health. In addition, it’s super important to stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, mood changes, and decreased cognitive performance. By making small changes to your diet, you can improve their mental well-being and perform better academically.
Quality sleep is essential for your mental health and well-being. We know, you want to party, and have a night out at least 7 nights a week, but if you’re struggling, it’s worthwhile considering a bit of a reset to your habits. When you’re at uni, it's common to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Trust us though, sacrificing sleep can have negative consequences for your mental wellness.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you leave yourself open to increased risks of depression, anxiety. As you might have experienced, with not enough sleep it’s pretty common to experience decreased brain function, memory, and concentration, making it harder to perform well in your studies.
If you can improve your sleep routines, and get good amounts of sleep, you’ll likely experience improved moods, an increase in your energy levels, and it’ll help promote better overall health.
How to build a good sleep routine:
Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
Create a relaxing environment for sleep: a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding, as well as a dark, cool, and quiet room.
Avoid caffeine and screen time before bed
Managing your time is a key skill for success in your time at uni, your career, and to be honest your personal life. Effective time management can reduce your stress and anxiety, giving you a chance to stay on top of your assignments and deadlines.
By prioritising tasks and breaking them down into smaller, more bitesize steps, and allocating your time to each task, you’ll look forward to getting rid of those overwhelming feelings, to help you accomplish more in less time. Pencil in your down time for exercise, socialising, and anything else you want to enjoy, and you’ll massively reduce your stress.
Planning something to look forward to will oddly encourage your productivity when you’re studying. You know you have something fun to do and look forward to when you finish your essays or exams. Plan something fun with your friends: shopping, a brunch date with the girls, or a night out you know you need. Whatever it is, treat yourself, you worked hard!
Organisational tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and time-blocking techniques can be used to to organise your tasks and your social life. It also gives you the chance to identify and eliminate time wasting activities, like wildly excessive TikTok scrolling or browsing
for the next big haul.
Effective time management really does encourage a much better work-life balance, and will reduce your stress, anxiety, and improve your performance in your studies. It’s a win win! Feel more in control of your life and achieve your goals with ease.
Taking breaks is pretty crucial to maintaining your productivity and mental health as a student. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that working non-stop for long periods will lead to smashing out 90% in your next exam, but in reality, taking regular breaks can actually improve focus, creativity, and overall performance.
Taking breaks is what you need to help chill out your stress levels and oncoming anxiety. It also works wonders to help prevent burnout. Overworking yourself will lead to exhaustion and plummet your motivation. We can often forget to stand up and take a break, and we end up hunched over our laptops for hours on end. Not a vibe. We’re not saying you should blast out a 45 min study sesh and then take a 3 hour break (we’ve all been there). However, if you’ve done a solid couple of hours of work, give yourself a breather: make yourself a drink, get away from your laptop for a little bit.
Schedule break times throughout the day or set yourself a timer. During breaks, it's important to engage in activities that are relaxing and enjoyable. Listen to some music or spend some time with friends. Maybe you might like going for a walk. Head to tescos and buy your lunch, just to break up your day if you need to. Anything other than work, will get you mentally prepared for your next study session.
It doesn’t matter how full your social life is, how good your grades are, students from any background experience personal struggles. Talking to a counselor or therapist can bring those of you struggling a super valuable outlet for processing your emotions and learning new coping strategies.
One of the key benefits of counseling is the opportunity to receive support and guidance from a trained professional. Counseling can bring you a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss your issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, or relationship problems. The support you receive can help you identify patterns of thinking or behavior that may be contributing to difficulties and develop strategies to overcome them.
Prioritising your wellness to help you maintain both your physical and mental health is key for a good time at uni. There are a few more quick tips you might find useful to try if you’re in a pinch and want to sort yourself out
Read A Book
: If you’re a book lover, reading is a great way to relax and unwind after you’ve been stuck in front of your screen all day. Give your mind a break.
Skin Care Routine
: Work through your skincare routine or do a face mask. It’s the perfect way to help you relax. Let you feel a bit more like yourself again, and help take your mind off anything academic.
Netflix & Chill
: Set some time aside to watch another instalment of your favourite series. It just distracts you from anything study related, and helps you unwind.
: Why not take yourself shopping as a treat? Retail therapy is pretty damn good! Don’t fancy trying on clothes, take yourself on a big shop, because who doesn’t love a trip to the big Tesco or wander down the Aldi middle aisles.
So now you know the ins and outs of how to improve the way you are feeling while you're at Uni. Taking care of your physical and of course mental health and wellbeing is just as important as studying for your exams, and it's never too late to start, so give it a go. If you’re looking for more advice on student living, check out our
Student Advice Hub