Here At UcaDO We Know Just How Overwhelming University Life Can Be, So We’ve Come Up With 5 Ways For Students To Practice Mental Self Care.
We know how busy uni life can be – days in back-to-back lectures, evenings in the library, post library drinks that often carry on until 4am, the odd social club meeting in-between… and that’s just the weekdays!
Around that you’ll squeeze in a gym session and try to cook healthy meals when your budget allows it so that you can tell your family you’re ‘looking after yourself’. But it’s not just your family members who are concerned, we hear about self care a lot these days and usually we’re referring to our bodies. But how much attention do you pay to what’s going on in your mind?
It’s really important when you consider that 1 in 4 students suffer from mental health problems. Just because you’re not sure it’s serious enough to visit the doctor, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check in with how you’re feeling day to day and learn to practice mental self care.
Feeling a bit lower than yesterday? Overwhelmed with course work? Anxious about your next assessment? Missing friends from home? These are all real things that we deal with and sometimes ignore because we think that ‘they’re not real problems’, but you don’t have to live with them and there are some really simple things we can do to feel good and continue to nail our hectic lifestyles!
So, here are 5 easy things you can do to lower your uni stress levels by practicing mental self care.
1. Say “NO” – there’s always an event on tomorrow…
You don’t want to miss tomorrow’s clothes swap at the union or pub golf on Thursday and it’s your flats turn to host “Come Dine With Me” on Sunday, then you’re in early to cram for next week’s exam, and really you’d like a day in between to chill?
Well take it!
We all feel guilty if we can’t make a commitment, but what’s worse – your team being a man down at bowling or your brain buzzing with so many thoughts that you can’t focus on the essay you need to learn to get into 3rd year? And as for FOMO, well don’t worry there’s always an event on tomorrow and the next day, and the next…
2. Try something new and raise your self esteem
It’s been proven that engaging your intelligence in subjects you’re not familiar with will raise your self-esteem and make you feel able to tackle a new module or speak up at your next group tutorial. So why not try something new?! For example, visit an art gallery or go to a local history museum. And if you feel like you’ve done everything on offer in your area – be brave and start up your own group! Raising your self esteem is a way of exercising mental self care.
3. Grow your social network
The third tip fpr practicing mental self care is staying connected with your family and close friends. This will make you feel valued and confident, plus it’s always good to feel up to date with what’s happening in their lives. Having people who you’re really comfortable talking to can even give you new perspectives on your own life or projects at uni. Try getting in touch with someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while – send a quick text or make a 5-minute phone call on your way to your next lecture.
If you don’t have family or friends close to you then don’t worry, there are loads of great community events and online groups out there. Filtering your searches by your interests and experiences is the perfect way to find others who are looking to connect with people just like you. Joining a sports team, a book club, a study group or an online forum will help broaden your network.
4. Get into nature – relax and switch off
If you’re lucky enough to live close to green parks or the countryside then make sure you take full advantage. Getting out into a green environment will help you relax and switch off from uni stress. You’ll go back to your coursework with a fresh outlook which might even bring new ideas or help you finally crack that challenge.
And what if you’re right in the heart of the city with no greenery for miles? Buy house plants! Not only do they bring the outdoors in, they need to be looked after and it’s known that having something to nurture and look after will help you to better look after yourself. Win-win!
5. Be active – any form of exercise is good!
Regular physical activity isn’t just for your body – it’s essential for a healthy mind too. When we exercise it slows down the ageing process in our brains and again, it helps us to refresh and make our next move with a clearer view.
This can be any form of exercise. So if the gym is not your thing, walking rather than taking the bus is a great way to fit more movement into your day. If you’re the sporty type then the options are endless, especially at uni! There are loads of great gyms at an affordable monthly cost, uni sports clubs to join, or you can start your own at a local park!
You’ve heard this before, but in short – mental self care really is about balance. Uni days are some of the most fun, challenging and rewarding days you’ll have. If you manage to incorporate these 5 practices into your life, you’ll be amazed at the difference they can make to how you think and feel throughout your time at uni. Mental health awareness is massively important to us and we’re spreading the word in support of Mental Health Day 2018.
UcaDO is the new peer-to-peer app that will do more than help you find your next uni home and build your credit rating; it will also keep you connected to useful local knowledge, and we’re on hand to help you get the most out of your uni days. Download now!