Your years spent at university are exciting times, with the chance to make memories that will last the rest of your life. However, there may also be occasions when things are challenging and we recognise that people may need a little help from time to time. At Chester we want to ensure that your time with us is enjoyable, rewarding and worry-free, therefore on this year’s University Mental Health Day we’re sharing our top five tips to keep your mental health in top shape.
Get Enough Sleep
Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough hours in the day – you’ve got lectures, a part-time job, your flatmate’s birthday party and you feel like the only way you’ll get that essay done is by loading up on coffee and energy drinks and pulling an all-nighter. While university can be a busy time, it’s important to also try and get enough shut-eye. A lack of sleep can have a drastic effect on your mood, so an ideal place to start with feeling good is by ensuring you’re catching enough Z’s.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Everyone enjoys loading up on snacks, grabbing their duvets and getting stuck into a Netflix binge, and while that’s fine every now and then, it’s also a good idea to try and balance out some healthy eating and exercise alongside the share size bags of crisps and episodes of Stranger Things. Why not try shopping around for cheap fruit and veg and googling healthy recipes you could try yourself? YouTube is full of delicious and easy cooking tutorials that will make you feel great. For exercise at Chester students can use the swimming pool for free! There’s various membership options for the fitness suite and classes at both Chester and Warrington. You could also look into joining one of the many sports societies such as football or tennis. If you’re not sure what sport you’d like to try, it’s worth speaking to the Student’s Union to see what’s on offer or to discuss the possibility of starting a brand new society of your own.
Make Time For Yourself and Learn to Relax
While at times it may seem that your social calendar is choc-a-block and you couldn’t possibly turn down a night out without getting a severe case of ‘FOMO’, you should also feel fine about taking some ‘me’ time. There’s an array of ways you can take some time to yourself and relax, so have a think of what might work best for you. There are lots of meditation apps available that can walk you through mindfulness techniques and help calm a busy mind. We also have the Chaplaincy available on campus as a location for quiet prayer and reflection. Alternatively, you could go for a long walk, settle down with a good book or even just kick back in front of your favourite movie!
There may be times when you feel like going out and getting drunk might be the best solution when you’re feeling down, and while it’s a good idea to socialise and catch up with friends, drinking too much alcohol can have extremely damaging effects on your mood and mental state. Relying on drink to ‘self-medicate’ is a dangerous road you don’t want to head down. Alcohol is actually a depressant and although it may help you forget about your worries in the short term, it’s highly likely those worries will return more troublesome than before, along with a nasty hangover! Your wellbeing comes first and there’s no shame in swapping the pints and shots for soft drinks or water.
Talk to Someone
If things are tough for you at any point and you’re feeling down, upset, worried, lonely or just not yourself, it’s best to share what you’re going through rather than trying to deal with it alone. You could try talking to your lecturers, friends or picking up the phone and speaking to a member of family. If you’d feel more comfortable having a chat with someone you don’t know, the University has Student Futures Support facility dedicated to ensuring you’re not struggling. You can contact Student Futures Support for advice and guidance or to organise student counselling and speak to a qualified professional in confidentiality about any difficulties you may be experiencing. The important thing to remember is that you’re never alone and there will always be people for you to talk to.
If you would like to contact Student Futures Support, please email: email@example.com or call: 01244 511550.