1. Plan your weekKeeping on top of your diary can stop you from becoming overwhelmed when you’re juggling lectures, coursework, life and maybe even a part-time job. A calendar or a list will help bring order to your everyday life and help you to use your time effectively. While you’re planning the week ahead make sure to be realistic about what you can achieve every day. Scheduling too much is bound to leave you feeling burnt out or deflated. And make sure to plan in some downtime too – striking a balance between work and play is essential for your wellbeing.
2. Make time for proper mealsThere’s no end of benefits to eating a balanced and healthy diet. Eating well can up your energy levels, boost your mood, improve your memory and concentration…the list goes on! So when you’re writing your weekly plan, add in regular meal times. And before you start to worry about the time and expense of eating well, here are some handy healthy eating hacks:
- Fresh fruit and veg is often cheaper at the local market.
- Try Aldi’s Super Six for cut-price fresh ingredients.
- Work out when reduction time is at your local supermarket.
- Cook in batches and freeze portions so you can simply defrost and re-heat for the rest of the week.
- Try BBC Good Food for quick and healthy recipes.
- Plan your meals so you don’t over buy and waste money.
- If you’re finding that fresh veg goes bad too quickly, try frozen, it’s no less nutritious.
3. Do something fun every dayDon’t feel guilty for taking time out. It’s so important to factor in time to switch off from the pressures and stresses of university. Even as little as ten minutes could make a difference to the way you feel but MindWell recommend at least 30 minutes a day. You could watch your favourite film, listen to music, read a book, do something creative like drawing, explore somewhere different or even learn something new. The main aim is have some ‘me time’ where you’re only thinking about pleasing yourself.
4. Don’t leave coursework until the last minuteBe warned: procrastination is not your friend. The longer you put that important piece of coursework off for, the harder it’ll become to start. Next time you get an assignment break it down into manageable tasks and plot out a time line of when each task needs to be completed by so that you hit the deadline on time. This approach will minimise the chance of you feeling stressed or anxious, promise!
5. Stay socialEven when you’re busy, make time to call family and hang out with friends from uni. If you’re in first year you could even keep in touch with friends from home too. Spending time with other people will give you a chance to chat through any problems and distract you from any worries. Being social will also help you to relax and feel less alone. Bear in mind, we’re social creatures, us humans!
6. Get into good sleeping habitsThe quality of your sleep has a huge impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. And did you know that adults should get seven to nine hours sleep every night? It’s a bit of a vicious circle: everything you do in the day affects how well you’ll sleep that night, and the better you sleep, the more energy you’ll have in the day. Getting into a regular sleeping pattern is one of the best things you can do to look after yourself. Of course it’s ok to have the odd late night but try your best to go to bed and wake up at a similar time every day, even at the weekends.
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7. Exercise regularlyIf you’ve not really exercised since the days of compulsory PE at school, it could be worth changing your ways. NHS guidelines recommend that adults get two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week, along with strengthening exercises twice a week. Regular exercise is great for your physical health and fitness, and it can drastically reduce your chances of getting diseases like cancer and dementia too. On top of that, it’s been proven that an active lifestyle improves self-esteem, triggers positive feelings and helps to ease feelings of anxiety, stress and low mood.
8. Cut down on screen timeBefore you break out in a cold sweat, hear us out on this one because your laptop, phone and TV could be sabotaging your wellbeing. We know some screen time is unavoidable but why not try to stay away from technology for two hours before bed? It’s a fact that blue light affects your body clock so you’ll probably sleep better as a result. Breaking free from screens will also help you to become more present in the day-to-day and stop you from comparing yourself to the people you follow on social media (don’t worry, we all do it!).
9. Get outdoorsWhen so much for your day is spent sat in lecture theatres or at your desk working, it’s easy for a whole day to pass by without spending much time outside. But natural daylight, fresh air and green spaces are essential to your self-care routine. Going for a walk, sitting in the park or growing some plants (if you’re feeling ambitious!) can help to:
- Fight mental fatigue.
- Get your creative juices flowing.
- Improve your focus.
- Reduce stress.
- Improve your short term memory.