How To Bring Self Care Into University Life

As we're now well into the new uni semester I thought it would be a good idea to reaffirm the importance of self care for students. Uni can be a really stressful time, especially when you reach your last year (anyone else in this joyous club?) and it's so vitally important that you look after yourself.

Whilst I'm writing this post with students in mind, I don't wish to alienate from the post anyone who isn't currently a student. Self care is of course important for all, no matter what you're currently doing in your life, and all of these practices can be translated into the lives of working people also.

Bring Your Home Comforts To Uni
Student accommodation has a tendency for be very plain; very beige, bare and boring. And I don't know about you, but to me that kind of environment makes me feel quite on edge and uncomfortable. Moving away from home can be a really difficult experience, so it's important to create an environment that makes you feel calm and comforted. One key way to do this is to bring some home touches to personalise your uni room. We're talking photos, trinkets, pillows, blankets; anything that will make you feel at home.

Get Enough Sleep
Sleep and students are a bit of an iffy mix. We either find ourselves getting far too much sleep (ah what blasphemy; surely too much sleep is a myth) or resembling someone from the walking-dead on the way to 9am lectures. Our anxieties seem to have an ability to notice a moment of weakness in us (such as a lack of sleep) and that's when the bad mental health moments pounce, so getting enough shut eye to keep your body in tip-top condition is so important.

Create A Positive, Inspiring and Clutter-Free Work Space
The nature of uni life means you spend an awful lot of time behind a desk, so it's important to make this desk a lovely and positive place to be. Keep it organised (yes this is an excuse to go out and buy trays and magazine files galore) as a clutter-free space helps to create a clutter-free and focused mind. You can also decorate the wall-space around the desk area with motivational quotes and pictures, to keep you going when you reach a mental block.

Learn That It's Ok To Say No
As a university student there's an unspoken pressure to 'live your best life'; to always be out partying, experiencing new things and meeting new people. But this isn't realistic and succumbing to this pressure can do more harm than good. Don't feel like you have to scream yes at every invitation or be at the heart of every social circle going. And don't feel you need to agree to drinking if it isn't something you feel happy with. It's ok to say no; to have a day off. Be it because you just need a break, because it's a situation you don't feel comfortable with or just because you don't fancy it; it's ok. I don't mean this just in terms of not always feeling under pressure to join in with the drinking culture at uni, it applies in all aspects of life. You can expect yourself to be on top form all the time and sometimes we just need to recognise that our body needs a break and a bit of 'me time'. So it's ok to say no, nobody is going to think badly of you.

Schedule In Relaxation Time
Uni can bring a whole heap of academic pressure you have never experienced before and boy can that be a stressful experience. It's nothing to fear, as it simply takes time to adjust to degree level work just like it would have taken time to adjust to starting your GCSEs or A Levels. But this new stress and anxiety means it's especially important for you to schedule in me time; time to relax and de-stress. The kinds of activity which will bring you to a calmer state of being are going to specific to you and it's important to find something which suits you as a person. For me, it's reading, swimming and long bubble baths, so I try to schedule time for these activities every week. Try to find a physical activity which relaxes you, such as yoga, pilates or jogging, as this exercise will also work to support your physical and emotional health.

Have you got any self care advice for university students?

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