8 Ways to Improve Student Mental Health
Heads up! Thursday 4th March is University Mental Health Day 2021, a day that brings together the university community to change the future of student mental health.
Although this year may be a little different, universities are still gathering virtually to tackle the stigma of mental health in students.
The nation needs to talk more about student mental health, and hopefully, this fabulous bunch of virtual events will make that happen.
Join big brands like Student Minds, who will be sharing all the amazing work different universities are doing across the UK.
With that being said, you need to remember to take important steps in looking after yourself and your own well-being.
Selfcare is a big vibe and we’re here for it! So, let’s take a look at the top 8 ways you can look after yourself 😊
1. Talk About It
It’s incredibly important to voice any issues you feel you may be having, instead of keeping them all bottled up.
We’re not saying you have to tell the world or put it on a Facebook status, but to confide in someone that you love and trust!
You don’t have to go into nitty-gritty detail if you don’t feel like it, but simply being aware that something isn’t right, and telling someone, is a big step.
Struggles in a student’s mental health can affect energy levels, concentration, and optimism, which is why it’s best to be as open as possible.
At first, you may feel nervous and reluctant, but think of how great you’ll feel after you’ve had a chat with your loved one.
Of course, we know that a chat may not solve things instantly, or at all, but once you’ve addressed the issue, you can take further steps if needed!
So grab a hot cuppa and a few biccies and open up, you’ll feel heaps better for it – trust us.
We know what you’re thinking…” I’m a student, how can I relax?!” Well, believe it or not, even a few minutes out of your day can make a difference.
University can be a busy time for students, so it’s up to you whether you take 5-minutes out of your day for some self-care or an hour.
5-minutes might not sound like a long time, but within that time you can text a mate, have a soothing hot drink, write a to-do list, you name it!
If you’ve got a little more time, that’s okay too, you could go for a walk around campus or tidy your workspace, maybe even have a nap.
Self-care and relaxation are so important for student mental health, and we’re here to remind you that it’s okay to relax and take a break.
3. Stay Hydrated
We’re more than sure you’re aware of the importance of keeping hydrated, our memory, energy, and ability all depend on it!
Believe it or not, hydration and mental health are linked, if you’re dehydrated, tension can actually increase.
It can also help reduce the intensity of anxiety with its natural calming properties, giving another reason to drink plenty of water.
Set a daily goal for water intake and keep a reusable bottle with you, that way, you’re more likely to be reminded to fill it!
If you’re not a big fan of plain water, get some cordial or opt for flavoured water for something a little #extra.
4. Less Screen Time
If you spend hours glued to Insta and Facebook on your phone, it might be worth trying to go on it a little bit less.
Less screen time can reduce eye strain, prevent headaches, improve your sleep, and even improve focus.
Obv, we know it can be really hard trying to stay off your phone, they’re pretty addictive little things – right?
But even if you set yourself a goal of only going on it for an hour a day, that’s better than your current constant scrolling.
It also might be worth reducing screen time before you go to bed, as it may improve your sleep if you keep off it before bedtime.
Put your phone into do not disturb mode, move it away from you, get a nice hot chocolate and maybe read a book!
5. Write In A Journal
Journals are pretty much all the rage at the mo, it’s deffo worth investing in one to keep your thoughts nice and organised.
Keeping a journal or a diary can help you set and achieve goals, relieve stress, record ideas on the go, and allow yourself to self-reflect.
There are loads of different types of journals out there, whether you want one solely for personal reflection or more of an organiser.
Papier is a great website for aesthetically pleasing journals of all different kinds if you’re wanting to splash out and treat yourself!
With so many different types of journals out there, students are spoilt for choice. Whether it’s a dream journal, food journal, or gratitude journal – take your pick.
6. Be Mindful
Being mindful basically means having a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment.
As a busy student, it can be hard to slow down and notice your thoughts and feelings in a busy world!
Try and take some time to experience touch, sound, sight, smells, and taste and really take in each moment.
If this sounds a little confusing or you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, there are plenty of mindfulness apps out there.
7. Get Active
A good workout really helps with student mental health, which is why we ensure some of our accommodation has on-site gyms!
Granted, pumping weights in the gym might not be to everyone’s taste, in fact, a simple stroll around campus is way better than nothing.
Getting active may seem like a bit of a chore at first, especially to students who are particularly fond of a duvet day…but it’s gotta be done.
Mind has some great top tips for getting active when you’re short of time, check them out and get motivated!
They also have some fabulous resources like printable activity sheets, great for motivation and putting a fun spin on working out.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your best workout gear on, take a few selfies, and get going!
8. Get A Good Sleep Routine
Sleep is mega important for student mental health, and we don’t just mean a few cheeky power naps here and there!
It’s recommended you get around 7-9 hours of sleep a day, lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood changes and difficulty focusing.
We know that as a student you may want to be out socialising until the early hours, and that’s okay too, but make sure you find a good balance!
There are plenty of proven tips for a better night’s sleep such as reducing the number of naps you have (soz) and reducing blue light activity in the evening.
We hope you found these top 8 ways to promote better student mental health useful! As well as taking part in University Mental Health Day 2021, it’s important to pick up healthy habits for your wellbeing. Check out these amazing mental health charities who will offer 24/7 advice and visit StudentMinds for more tips on support.
Click here to find out how to get involved with University Mental Health Day 2021.