Looking after your health and wellbeing at uni

Student health and wellbeing has been in the news a lot over the past few years, yet has been a concern of universities and colleges for much longer than that. Here, the team at Sanctuary Students, a provider of private halls across the UK, provide some useful tips to help you look after yourself while away at uni…

While the pandemic brought health and wellbeing firmly into focus and made it a part of the conversation, we have always known that students face some unique challenges. You’re away from home, often for the first time. You have to manage money and your own time, look after yourself and manage the stresses of study, exams and expectation.

While many on the outside view student life as an easy three (or more) years, the reality is anything but! Which is why we’re sharing some student health and wellbeing tips. We have been students. We work with students. We work with colleges and universities and have collected all that experience into this page.

So here are some tried and tested tips to help manage your health and wellbeing while you’re a student…

You’re not alone

The first and most important tip we want to share is that you’re not alone. Being a student is a collective experience that you’ll be sharing with hundreds, or even thousands, of other people.

While you may feel alone at times, you’re really not. Everyone will be going through similar challenges at one point or another and you can all help each other.

Plus, universities have lots of resources to help you manage the transition to student life.

Get out there

It can be very tempting to hide away in your room and study when you feel low, but you should ideally do the opposite. Get out there, get involved with campus life and mix with others. Even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing, put your book down and get out there.

Even if you just go for a walk, go to the library or to a student bar for a drink, get out from those four walls, see the sky, get some air and change your surroundings.

Body as well as mind

The average student puts their body through a lot at university. A limited diet, not enough hydration, too much alcoholic ‘hydration’ and limited exercise is the norm. Change that if you can. Walk around campus, join a sports club, go to the gym, join in an organised ramble. Just do something.

Exercise has many physical benefits, but also significant psychological ones. You don’t have to train excessively or be competitive unless you want to. Just getting out of class, out of your room and moving can be enough.

Join a club

If you’re not into sports, then find another type of club. Chess, debating, reading, movies, board games, dancing, languages or whatever your thing is.

Clubs are an incredibly important, and nourishing part of student life. You get to meet new people, find common interests with strangers and begin making friends that could last a lifetime. All while doing something you enjoy.

Try to eat well

Students are not known for their culinary skills and don’t usually have the budget for high-quality fresh produce, but that is no excuse. Many cultures from around the world produce delicious fresh dishes quickly and on a low budget. Think Italian, Spanish, Indian and Moroccan and you’ll be on the right track.

They don’t use packet foods. They don’t all spend hours and hours cooking. They are all masters of taking a few fresh ingredients and throwing them together to create something delicious.

Keep an eye on money

One key concern of many students is money, or lack of it. Keeping an eye on your finances throughout the year won’t give you more money, but it will warn you in advance when things are about to get tight.

There’s nothing worse than suddenly running out of money, so create a budget and check it weekly so you always know what’s going on.

We know money management is boring, but you’re going to spend the rest of your life doing it, so you may as well start now.

Make friends with the washing machine

We’re not judging, okay? But, if you don’t know how to use the washing machine, learn.

Unwashed clothes will smell. Even if you cannot smell it, classmates will and nobody wants to be that person.

Wash your bedding at least once per week too. It’s boring and takes time, but it can also have far-reaching health implications if you don’t. We spend a lot of time in bed, so we want it to be as clean and as pleasant as possible. Clean sheets will help with that.

Keep in touch with home

It is still very possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by thousands of other people. One way to avoid that is to keep in touch with home. That means both family and friends.

Even though everyone is off doing their own thing, real friends and your family will always have time for you. Keep in touch, chat often and use all the technology you have available to stay anchored.

Make your halls a home

Whether you’re in university halls, private halls or a private rental, make it home. Bring pictures and favourite items from home to brighten up the room. Get a plant, decorate without risking your damage deposit and add colour, texture and feeling to your room.

Your whole world has changed and you’re probably somewhere completely new. Making your room your safe space with some familiar touches can help you relax, unwind and process everything that’s going on.

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