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5 Ways To Stay Healthy At University

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

From my countless tweets on dissertations and trips to the library, it’s probably quite evident to guess I am in my third year at university. If you don’t follow me on there though, hello my name is Julia and I’m a third year history student. I’ve planned more student content to go up over the next few months which is a little amusing since those months will be the last few in my degree and potentially my last in education. I’ll get into that wormhole in later posts, for now I thought I’d give some tips on staying healthy at university. Disclaimer, I am no Bella Hadid or fitness queen, and yes the top drawer of my desk is full of various sweet treats, I still count myself as a fairly healthy student though.

1. Drink Plenty Of Water

With countless deadlines and going out to the SU the night before, caffeine can seem like the answer to every problem. Spoiler: It’s not. Caffeine is great for short-term boosts of energy and waking up the brain but water provides a longer-term energy source and keeps you revitalised. I find looking at my laptop constantly also causes headaches, staying more hydrated though has staved these off and kept me going for longer. Invest in a reusable bottle and not only will you be saving your money by not investing in a new bottle every week, but you’ll also be doing your own little contribution for the environment.

2. Get a good balance between university and a social life

It’s really easy to get sucked into a mindset of belief that you’re not doing enough to do well in your degree, especially if you’re seeing a correlation between essay marks and how long you spent on them. Obviously, if you aren’t putting in the hours to get a result then maybe up your game, at the same time though overwork is a serious problem and can burn you out just as much. What I’ve found is it’s good to set a time to stop working every night or to create a time table ensuring you spend a good amount of time relaxing and working. Even if you’re not out socialising, just taking a break at the end of the day is good to wind down instead of working up until the last minute. I find it’s good to set an achievable to do list for the day so you don’t beat yourself up if you can’t complete it.

Not just a social life though, having a good work and home balance is crucial. Self-care is essential at uni otherwise you could burn out as I mentioned. Having a good definition between when work stops and relaxation starts is key. Make sure you get plenty of both done since neglecting either of these factors could prove detrimental to the overall wellbeing of your mental health.

3. Get Plenty of Sleep

This is one I definitely struggle with since I never get to bed early, yet I always find myself waking up fairly early. Getting plenty of rest is key for any job though since it means your body actually is getting time to recuperate from the stresses of the day. Getting a night of good sleep is hard sometimes with a university schedule, but having a set routine really helps to wind down in the evening and get up in the morning. Getting to sleep the night before will make waking up for dreaded 9ams a lot easier, resulting in less missed lectures you have to catch up on if they're recorded, it just sets you up for the day. Moreover, getting a good amount of rest means you’re less likely to get ill and suffer from the dreaded fresher's flu. I can’t promise that sleep will completely prevent it, but a regular good amount of sleep does boost the immune system.

4. Exercise

As I’ve said in a previous post, I want to exercise more since I’ve noticed when I do exercise my brain feels a lot clearer for the rest of the day. With this in mind, I have found exercise to be really beneficial to studying when I get in a rut. Exercise doesn’t mean you have to go on a run or break the bank with a gym membership, just to get out and move a little. Sometimes all it takes is a walk or some stretches to give you a little perspective with what you’re writing, I know I personally benefit from just getting out of the house. Sitting behind a desk is necessary for university with getting essays done but physical health benefits mental health; sometimes just having a break and getting out actually results in the best productivity.

5. Say No

This is more advise for your first year, it can strike in any of your years or at any point in your life though. Sometimes if all your friends or flatmates are going on a night out it’s easy to get a serious case of FOMO, particularly since everyone outside of university says these years are going to be the best of your life. It is easy to get caught up and want to go to every club or social for fear of missing out on THE night, the thing is though there isn’t really just one night that will be defined as the best in university. At the end of the day if you aren’t feeling up to going out then you don’t have to, if doing something is going to be detrimental to your physical or mental health then it probably isn’t worth it.

People go on about peer pressure faced at university, and if you have friends pressuring you into doing things you don’t feel up to then you probably don’t want them as a friend. Yes, people say uni can be the best experience, that’s not always the case though particularly if you are trying to do everything for the sake of doing it and not wanting it. You have 3 years to do things you want to do, to try new things. Three years is quite a bit of time, you’ll find yourself hating those years if you force yourself to do too many things you don’t want to do. Just take time and try to enjoy the little things, as I said not every night out is worth going on. Sometimes it’s better if you just stay in.

What are your tips for surviving and staying healthy at uni? 

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