Tips for Self-care at University
By Laura Whittle on November 10th, 2017
First things first, you need to cover the basics. If you’re missing out on good quality sleep this could have a big impact on your day-to-day life at university. Sleep helps your brain work properly – while you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day by forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
So, if you’re not sleeping well, you need to figure out why and try and change it. If you’ve got yourself into a bad routine, kick-start a better one by going to bed early or getting up early. If you’re struggling with sleep, see here for helpful tips.
2. Re-fuel & stay hydrated
Eating a healthy diet gives your brain and body the vitamins and minerals needed to stay well. If you follow a varied diet packed with fruits and vegetables, you’re more likely to feel your best, have the energy to be active and productive throughout the day and prevent illness.
Hydration is also crucial, as our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells need a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and if you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted and your brain cells lose efficiency. Check out the NHS Eatwell Guide for more information on how to achieve a balanced diet. If you are vegetarian or vegan see here.
Personal cleanliness is the key to good self-care and hygiene. Not only does it help to promote a healthy self-image, but it is also essential in preventing the spread of infections and disease.
So, even if you have a lecture-free day and don’t necessarily need to go out –take a shower and get fully dressed anyway and you may notice a big difference in how you feel for the rest of the day.
Exercise can benefit your mental health and boost your mood in so many ways. Not only does regular exercise keep you fit and healthy, but it can also improve self-esteem, reduce stress and ward off anxiety and feelings of depression.
When we exercise our body releases chemicals called endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain!
For more information on how psychical activity can benefit your mind as well as your body, visit here.
5. Practise mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without any judgement. By practising mindfulness every day, you are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past and be fully present in the moment, without missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling.
Scientists have discovered that the benefits of mindfulness techniques can help to improve well-being in a number of ways including; relieve stress, improve sleep and improve mental health. For a guide on how to practise mindfulness, see here.
Find out about the benefits of mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery here.
6. Good housekeeping
Keeping your living space clean and tidy can boost your mental health. If you’re guilty of having a messy, cluttered room you could be damaging your psychological health – also making it more difficult to stay on top of the everyday cleaning which could leave you feeling stressed out.
See our helpful guide to good housekeeping here.
7. Laugh and socialise
As we’re highly social beings, we don’t necessarily thrive in isolation – relationships help to stimulate our brains and can actually improve our emotional and physical health.
So, go out and socialise with friends or enjoy a comedy film night in. Laughter can help to decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies!
8. Keep a schedule
Put together a schedule for the week ahead to plan your activities so that you can achieve your goals and priorities in the time you have available. This will help you stay on track with your studies, work and personal life and can also provide a structure to your routine – just make sure to plan in some “me time” to relax, unwind and do what you enjoy.
9. Relieve tension
Stress is the enemy of self-care, as it is detrimental to all areas of your health. So always make time to switch off with a yoga class, Netflix session, cooking, a video game or any other hobbies you may have – it’s important to take a break from studying and devote some time to yourself.
You could even plan a two-day holiday next weekend by switching off your phone and letting people know you’ll be away doing something new in the city.
10. Prioritise YOU
Make yourself a priority each and every day. It might take some time but if you start to practise self-care as a part of your daily routine, you’ll slowly start to see a difference.