Welcome back to my 2018 university series! Today I am talking all about looking after yourself while away at university. The concept of ‘wellness’ is a rising trend these days, with extreme detox’s and diets, hot yoga and meditation classes all claiming to boost your health and wellbeing, it can all be a little overwhelming. University is stressful and unfortunately, that is just part of the package. Sometimes it can all become a little too much. So, I’m going to share a few of the ways in which I kept myself afloat in those hectic times without going to extreme lengths.
Keep Your Space Tidy
We all know it for a fact that communal living spaces at university are known for being messy. Overflowing piles of recycling, a lone traffic cone and stacks of dirty dishes are all common sights in student kitchens. Whether or not your communal areas are a pig sty, keeping your own space tidy and clean will always make you feel better. I found that keeping clutter to a minimum and using fairy lights/ candles made my space feel much more homely, which inevitably made it easier for me to spend time relaxing and unwinding in that space.
Eat a Balanced Diet
It may seem like all students live off of Pot Noodle and pasta but you will actually be surprised how many students I have seen eat surprisingly well. So… don’t fall into the stereotype and find your nearest ALDI or LIDL for good foods on a budget. Cooking for just one person can be hard to get the hang of but eating a balanced diet on a student budget is completely feasible if you plan your meals. The Tasty App is great for one portion recipes with just a few ingredients, and great for inspiring you when you’re on your 4th day in a row of eating spaghetti bolognaise after a batch cooking session.
These recipes come from the same company that plaster’s cooking videos all over Facebook, which always make you crave the food they are making. You can also adjust your settings to suit your dietary requirements and cater recipes for vegans and vegetarians too.
Find a Hobby
Luckily for me, this blog was my hobby. I found editing photos and planning content fun and something for me to focus my attention on when I wanted to take a step away from uni work. This could also mean joining a society or sports team to keep you occupied when outside of lectures. No matter what your hobby may be, make sure you set some time aside to do it each week. Finding time to go to the gym also helped me to keep a clear head, although I slacked on this sometimes when I finally found the motivation to go it always made me feel better.
Don’t Sacrifice your Sleep
Sometimes this might be hard to avoid, especially in freshers weeks when you’ve first moved to uni. While of course, you want to make the most of your social life and enjoy nights out, make sure you are getting the sleep your body needs. I struggled with my sleep a lot in my second year so I used the Headspace app and ASMR podcasts to help wind my body down and eventually fall asleep.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
There was nothing that made me feel better when I’d had a crap day than knowing my best friend was living down the road. Also knowing that my housemates were always there to binge drink tea and watch endless episodes of first dates with me.
Sometimes I really hate my own company, I don’t like to stay in my uni house on my own and always like to know people are around me even if they are doing their own thing. Also, find people on your course that you click with, so even if you’re housing situation isn’t ideal you will always have a separate group of friends to hang out with. One thing I learnt while at uni is not to entertain the people that treat you like sh*t, move on and find your own crowd. I have always lived by this quote:
Read Before Bed
This is something I didn’t actually do until my final year when I had winded down and turned into a bit of a grandma. It helped me to fall asleep so much quicker, even when I was going to bed late I would make sure to read a page or two just to make me sleepy enough to drift off to sleep. Also, I was really hooked on the Big Little Lies book after watching the TV series so I was actually enjoying reading for once. I plan to carry on doing this when my MA course gets going as I’ve fallen into that habit of binge-watching Netflix until I fall asleep over summer so that changes now that I’m back in uni!
Anyway, those are just a few of the things I tried to incorporate into my life as a university student. Obviously, you can’t stick to these every day and there are weeks when your routine goes completely out of the window and that’s just what life at uni can be like. As long as you remember to always put your wellbeing first and if that means uni isn’t the right place for you at that moment in time then take the appropriate steps to adjust your situation to work best for you. I have friends that have moved away from home and loved it, friends that live and study and home and love it and friends that have taken years out, come back and loved it again. Everyone’s journey and experience with uni are completely different, so don’t worry about everyone else, just focus on you.
*I am by no means an expert in this field and all of the tips listed here are minor lifestyle changes I adjusted to while I was studying. If you are suffering from you much deeper wellbeing issues please consult a friend, family member or your universities student services.