Top Tips to Look After Your Health and Wellbeing
10 October is World Mental Health Day. The overall objective of the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. However good mental health and wellbeing is important all year round and we understand the start of a new academic year can be a really exciting time but can also cause some uncertainty.
You may be starting out on your university journey and experiencing university life for the first time, or you may be transitioning back to face-to-face learning after studying online.
It can feel stressful when things are changing, and there is no ‘normal’ response. Your feelings might also change from one day to the next – you may feel really excited to be back at university one day, but feel quite anxious the next.
We all respond to life’s challenges and uncertainties differently, so how you respond may be different to a friend, but both are equally valid and there is no right or wrong way to feel.
However, even when life is uncertain, there are lots of proactive steps we can take to maintain our health and wellbeing through challenging times, and here we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you look after your health and wellbeing
Maintain the Basics
When life it stressful and uncertain, it is easy to lose our routines and stop maintaining the basics So, keep a focus on:
- Eating well - try to minimise sugar and caffeine and eat a rainbow of fresh fruit and veg!
- Drinking lots of water - people often underestimate how much hydration helps our cognitive functioning.
- Getting quality sleep, around eight hours' a night. If you're stressed, or struggling to relax and it’s affecting your sleep, there are lots of ways to aid getting a restful night. The virtues of a good night’s sleep should not be underestimated (check out our new Sleep Masterclass if you need some practical top tips!)
- Keep active – regular movement is a great de-stressor and helps keep us feel fresher and more alert. Do some desk stretching, go for a short walk or throw on some upbeat music and dance around! Exercising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to de-stress. Plus, getting fresh air will clear your head and lift your mood! Check out UofG Sports for plenty more info.
Get a Good Routine in Place
When life is busy and uncertain, having a good routine can help us to feel more in control:
- Think about when and where you work best. Not everyone is a morning person, and there's no one best place or time to work, it's about what works for you.
- Take frequent breaks. Research tells us that we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. Try using a technique like Pomodoro to structure your coursework into bitesize chunks, and when you do take a break make sure you don’t stay at your desk - you could go for a walk, do some stretching or even just make a cup of tea!
Starting University is a big change; even if this isn’t your first year, you might find transitioning back to study and to campus a bit daunting. If you feel your anxiety rising at any point, try a simple grounding technique – pause, and find:
- Five things you can see
- Inhale through your nose gently for two seconds.
- Hold your breath in for one second.
- Breathe out through your mouth slowly for four seconds.
- Repeat for one minute (or longer if you like) and you should feel a difference in your mood!
- Four things you can hear
- Three things you can smell
- Two things you can touch
- One thing you can taste
And Remember to Breath
Here’s how in four easy steps:
If the 2-1-4 count feels too short, try to lengthen your breaths slightly. As long as you breathe out longer than you breathe in, you’ll feel the calming benefit!
This month we are delighted to be launching a new programme of Wellbeing Masterclasses, open to all students and covering a wide array of key mental health and wellbeing topics, including managing change and uncertainty, improving our sleep quality and dealing with procrastination!
Additional Information & Resources
You can find more information on the Counselling Team webpages, and if you would like to speak to someone about how you’re feeling, there are a number of support services available:
- All students and staff have access to Togetherall, a safe space online to get things off your chest and learn how to improve and manage your mental health and wellbeing.
- If you are experiencing mental health difficulties that are affecting your ability to function, you can self-refer to our Counselling and Wellbeing Teams via their website for a consultation.
- Sharing your experiences with a fellow student may also be helpful, and Peer Wellbeing Support is a confidential, student-led listening service. It allows students to talk and share their problems, and receive support from trained Peer Wellbeing Supporters.
- The International Student Support Team can provide support and guidance for international students You can find details here including upcoming online social events.
- Glasgow Nightline is a confidential listening service operated by students for students, you can find more information on their website.
- If you are a student living in halls of residence you can contact your Living Support Team who are on hand for a support, welfare issues and signposting.
The UofG Life app also provides useful links to health and wellbeing resources available to students. With easy access from your mobile, discover more on the services provided by Nightline, Togetherall and the Counselling Team.
First published: 16 September 2021