Mental Wellbeing 101: Looking After Yourself at University 

girl sitting on a chair and drinking coffee

Mental well-being means having motivation and energy for daily tasks and feeling an overall level of satisfaction. 

Looking after your well-being at university, I’ve realised, is about learning to balance things – studying and fun, relaxation and adventure. Websites and articles often shout phrases like ‘Eat healthy!’ and ‘Stay hydrated!’ to encourage well-being. While these seem simple enough, they can feel difficult. Especially if you are a university student trying to manage so much – all while studying for a degree. So here are some practical tips for looking after your well-being at university.  

  • One fun thing a week – With a barrage of classes and assignments, we often forget to take a break. I try to schedule one fun event to attend at least once a week, like going out with my friends. If money is tight, there are free student and society events to attend, where you can meet new people.  
  • Make a weekly plan – I find that knowing what I need to do throughout the week helps me stay calm and focused. When I delegate time, I can take breaks without guilt. The Life Tools series provides excellent advice for managing academics. 
  • Nourish your body – Many problems to do with mental well-being stem from the lack of care for our bodies. It can be hard to cook healthy meals every day along with everything else going on, but here are some nutritional meals specifically for students. They are quick, cheap, and easy to store when made in bulk. I also make sure to carry a water bottle with me on campus. I place it on my table when I’m studying as a reminder to drink water. 
  • Do something yourself – Sometimes the constant stream of conversations, classes and social demands is overwhelming. It is important to take a step back and wind down. Do something by yourself – whether it’s an art project or taking a walk. Let your mind relax and your thoughts flow without interruption.   
  • Get out of your room! – Many courses have unstructured time and often spending all day in your room can leave you feeling dull. Instead, try out different study spaces on campus to change up your surroundings.  
  • Make yourself a priority – Being busy can be fun and university has so much to offer. But if you try to do everything all at once it goes from enjoyable to tiring. It’s completely okay to say ‘No’ to a night out and relax in your room instead.  

If your well-being is affected by difficult circumstances, you can speak to the Counselling and Wellbeing team for support. The NHS also has excellent guides for stress and anxiety. 

Here is a list of well-being activities for when you’re struggling for time:  

How much time do you have before your next class? Pick an activity and see how it lifts your mood and makes you feel better! You can even make a list of your favourite self-care activities to put up on your wall and remind you to take care of yourself. 

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