Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
April 26 2021Read more
We’re well into the swing of the new year now, and you’re probably starting to get settled back into your studies. January tends to be the time where we refocus goals, reframe perspectives and regain motivation. And for some, this means making physical wellbeing a priority too.
Taking steps to physical wellbeing can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a complete life overhaul. Small changes make a huge difference. Whether it’s making sure you get an extra hours sleep every night, upping your fruit and veggie intake or increasing your daily dose of H₂0. These things can boost your physical and mental wellbeing, helping you to feel happier and healthier over time. Remember that consistency is key, so keep at it!
It’s often underestimated how impactful those hours on the pillow can be. We know that a bad night’s sleep leaves us feeling grumpy and groggy. But in the long-term, this can have a profound effect on physical health. The NHS recommends we should get around 8 hours each night, but that number can differ from person to person.
If you find switching off difficult, try to make a conscious effort to go to bed a little earlier and get into a steady pattern with your sleep. The benefits will undoubtedly be worth it:
• An immunity boost against colds and viruses
• Improved mental health
• Reduced risk of diabetes
• Reduced risk of heart disease
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive. This couldn’t be more of a sign as to how important this vital liquid is to our lives. When we’re dehydrated, we don’t function as we should. Even when we're slightly dehydrated our memory, mood and energy levels decrease. These effects can dramatically alter the way we experience our day to day lives.
Make sure you’re drinking at least 6-8 glasses of fluid per day, and try to make this mostly water where possible. When we’re hydrated, we’re happier, our skin looks better, and we have more energy to take on the day—all it takes is a few more glasses here and there. Try taking a reusable bottle with you around campus so you can keep up the habit.
In a fast-paced digital world, it can feel difficult to find the time to squeeze some exercise into your routine. But regular exercise is key to a healthy life. Moving our bodies more benefits our mental and physical health in a number of ways. Exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and breast cancer.
And it can have a profound effect on our mental health too. Exercise improves mood, self-esteem and reduces the symptoms of anxiety. There are so many different sports and societies to choose from whilst you're studying, so this can be a great time to try your hand at something new and boost your health in the process.
Cooking and preparing healthy meals can be challenging when you’re juggling classes, assignments and a social life. But it’s important not to underestimate the impact your diet has on your body.
When you eat well it helps to maintain a healthy weight and improve your physical, and mental health. The body needs many different nutrients to survive—and thrive. A varied, balanced diet includes:
• At least five portions of fruit and veg per day
• Enough protein sources (meat, beans)
• Dairy or dairy alternatives (milk, soya milk)
• High fibre starchy foods (rice, pasta)
• A small amount of unsaturated fats (oils, spreads)
Try to make sure you’re including as much of these as possible in your diet. But remember to enjoy the things you love too. Life’s about balance after all.
Juggling the different aspects of student life can feel a little overwhelming. Maybe you’ve moved away from home, you’ve got exams just around the corner or you’ve been struggling financially. Sometimes the stress of these pressures can feel all too much, which is why it’s important to remember to take time for you.
Self care comes in many forms, it could be a hot bath, reading a book or a phone call with a friend. Our bodies and minds can only do so much, so we need to take time to relax, reset and recuperate. Try adding some self care time into your routine and see if you can spot the difference.
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