While it is common knowledge that having a good diet and getting some exercise is important for being healthy, during the period when you are moving to university, sometimes these key aspects can be forgotten. If you are moving away from home for the first time, you will encounter many challenges and will need to become more independent.
University life can differ in many ways from what you are used to, and this can take a while to acclimatise, especially if you are moving to the U.K. from another country. To help you out, we have collected some top tips on how to maintain good health for students. Keep reading to find out more.
Looking After Your Mental Health
Create a Routine
One way to help avoid stress or the feeling of being overwhelmed is by creating a routine that will help you throughout the semester. Work your routine around your classes and other commitments such as a part-time job, ensuring that you carve out time to relax and spend time with friends. Sticking to a routine helps you stay motivated and means that you are far likely to have higher attendance and more time to complete assignments well before the deadline, reducing the stress of student life.
Identify a Space to Study
Studying is a large part of what you will do at university, but it can easily become overwhelming, impacting your mental health by causing stress and anxiety. To help with this, avoid late-night studying as this won’t produce your best work, and timetable it into your day as we mentioned above. On top of this, try and identify a space where you can study – rather than letting it consume your entire room, as this can make it harder to switch off. Instead, consider using the university library, a local café or even a desk in your room (but don’t let it spread!). This will leave the rest of your space as a place where you can relax and unwind.
Know Where To Find Support
If you find that the stresses and anxieties of university life are becoming too much, then it is important to know where to find support to help you through this time. Charities such as Mind U.K. are on hand to listen and give practical advice or strategies to help you feel better. On top of this, make sure that you register with a local GP so that you can make an appointment with them to discuss your mental health. There is no shame in feeling overwhelmed at times, with many students feeling this during periods of their studies – the university is here to support you and has services that can also be contacted.
Looking After Your Physical Health
Stay on Top of your Nutrition
Nutrition is one of the most important factors that can impact your physical health, as what you put into your body can affect how it works. While the student lifestyle can often lend itself to cheap ready meals and takeaways, try and limit these, only eating them as a treat.
On a daily basis, ensure that you eat breakfast to start the day off right and eat a variety of meals – including fresh vegetables to gain access to the important vitamins and minerals that they contain. Healthy food doesn’t need to be expensive, and there are lots of great healthy student recipe ideas online to search for inspiration. Consider batch cooking as this can help save money, with leftovers being frozen for later.
Most importantly, do not skip meals as this can result in you feeling hungry and sluggish, meaning that you won’t be at your best. If you are struggling to afford food, contact university services who are there to support you.
Exercise of any kind releases endorphins within the body that have a great impact on your general well-being. On top of this, it can lead to you feeling physically fitter and healthier. Try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day – this can be going for a jog, using the university gym facilities or simply going for a walk or playing a game of footie with your friends. It doesn’t matter the activity, what matters is that you get exercising. Studies have found that those who exercise regularly are more likely to sleep better and have increased levels of focus – a perfect combination for a university student.
Ensure You Sleep Enough
One of the main reasons for feeling physically rundown is a lack of sleep. With great student nights and early morning lectures, students can find themselves burning the candle at both ends, which has a detrimental effect on the body. While the odd late night won’t do much harm, ensure that most nights, you are getting a good amount of sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed. The recommended amount is around 8 hours.
To help you get to sleep, switch off your device around 30 minutes before bed and try reading or meditation. If you are struggling to sleep for a long period of time, consult your doctor for advice.
In addition to a good diet, drinking plenty of water is vital for your physical health. Drinking around 2 litres of water per day is recommended. Water is great at hydrating the body, but it has a number of other positive health benefits. Water aids blood circulation regulates our body temperature, and helps remove toxins from the body, so try and increase your fluid intake.
When drinking fluid, try to avoid drinks with a high caffeine content, limiting these to once or twice a day. This is recommended as caffeine is addictive and can impact your sleep and focus levels, leading you to feel sluggish and negatively impacting your mood over time.
Looking After Your Social Health
One aspect of staying healthy that is often overlooked is your social life and ability to connect with others. In a post-pandemic world, this is even more important as isolation has impacted human connection. Meeting people within a positive environment can have good impacts on your mental health also, so consider the following:
Universities understand that students are travelling from all around the world, and many do not know anyone when they arrive on campus. This is where societies and sports spin come in, whether you have a passion for debating, enjoy learning about a new country or language, or love to play a sport, there is a society for you. This is a great way to meet new people when you first arrive and can lead to strong, lifelong friendships. Societies meet regularly, often holding events or charity fundraisers that you can get involved in. What is great about societies is that everyone is a student so will understand the demands of balancing your academic and social life. You will find that often society activities stop or reduce over exam time to allow to spend more time on revision.
Carve Out Time for Friends
While focusing on your studies will be a priority- especially in the run-up to exams, make sure that you are always carving out some time to spend with friends in order to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. This could be by going for food together, or heading to the cinema – something where you can all relax and enjoy each other’s company. Another plus to having friends is that they can help you on how to be confident, as you’re away from home in a foreign country. Spending time together doesn’t need to cost money either, try watching a film together in your accommodation or go on a walking tour around the sights of London – there are loads to see and do for free.
Stay In Contact with Family
Moving to a new place for University means that you are moving away from those who know you the most – your family. While it is important to get involved in university life and stay on top of your studies, it is also a vital that you stay in contact with your family as this can positively impact your health and give you people to talk to if you are struggling. Maintaining connections with your home is important, and the power of these connections on your wellbeing should not be underestimated. Visit them as often as you can, but if the distance is too far, there are other alternatives. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that technology can help connect us, so video call with them every so often.