Simple wellbeing tips for the new academic year

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By Rosie Angel-Clark, Deputy Wellbeing Editor

The Croft Magazine // It can be easy to feel a little lost at the beginning of the year. Here are some easy-to-keep resolutions to make the (re)adjustment into university life easier from a wellbeing perspective.

1.     Get enough sleep

Many people, including me, find it difficult to keep a regular sleep schedule. Everyone is different and it may not be realistic for you to be in bed by 10pm – but try to ensure you get eight hours as often as possible, even if it means taking naps.

If you’re struggling with sleep, experiment with apps such as Bedtime on iPhones, herbal teas for relaxation or try lavender essential oil on your pillow. If it becomes unmanageable, arrange an appointment at the Students Health Service.

2.     Eat well

An easy way to squeeze more vegetables into your diet is by making your own pasta sauce or curries rather than buying jars (doing this will also help you save money). Cooking more than you need and freezing the extra portions can be invaluable for a stressful day and prevent you from slipping into eating badly.

Getting yourself a reusable water bottle is great for keeping hydrated throughout the day and for helping the environment. Maintaining a good diet means that you’ll recover more quickly on those days when you feel unwell or hungover.

Doing physical exercise benefits your mental health | Epigram / Rosie Angel-Clark

3.     Evaluate your relationship with alcohol and drugs

It is a good idea to acknowledge your use of alcohol and drugs and work out if it is serving you well. If you regularly black out, spend days hungover, or find yourself worrying about things you can’t remember saying or doing, it might be time to think about cutting back and talking to someone such as a friend, tutor or doctor.

4.     Get a plan together for your work

Balancing studying, socialising, part-time work and relaxing can be difficult. Taking the time at the beginning of the year to list your priorities can help structure your responsibilities and make sure you have time for everything, preventing (as far as possible!) those horrible moments where you realise you’ve forgotten an important task deadline. Remember you can get support from your personal tutor.

5.     Make time for your friends

People don’t always find it easy to express what they’re going through. Letting your friends know that you are there for them if they need you will solidify your friendships as well as aid both your own and your friends’ mental health. Studies show that a hug can boost your wellbeing - so be generous!

6.     Try a new activity, even if it seems small

Finding something new that you enjoy doing will benefit your wellbeing as well as introduce you to new people. Doing something physical like yoga or martial arts both benefits your physical health and might take you out of your usual haunts. Even if you’re not a fresher, go to the Welcome Fair and look around the many societies – maybe challenge yourself to sign up to (and attend at least one session of!) a couple of new societies.

7.     Get some fresh air every day

Spending time in nature has been proven to benefit mental and physical wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be hiking or tree-climbing – taking a longer walk to lectures through one of Bristol’s many parks or taking a book to a green space instead of a library desk could make your whole day feel calmer.

Clifton's Birdcage Walk | Epigram / Rosie Angel-Clark

8.     Take some time at the end of the day to relax

University life can make us feel like there is no ‘off’ time when work is done for the day, but it is a good idea to stop working for an hour or so before you go to sleep. Unwinding before bed will improve your sleep and general health, and help your studying efficiency in the daytime. Read a book (not one required for your course!), watch a favourite tv programme, call your family, try meditation… whatever suits you.

Remember to treat yourself kindly. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed (after all, the start of the year is exciting!) but finding your own strategies for managing it can make a huge difference.

Featured: Epigram / Rosie Angel-Clark


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