As we approach mental health day on October 10th, I thought it would be the perfect time to discuss the importance of wellbeing and mental health at university. Mental health is a growing concern amongst students. Looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Low mental wellbeing can impact many aspects of your life, including your studies. Research suggests that many individuals do not know where to get help and therefore suffer in silence.
Moving to university can be an overwhelming experience. Living with new people, being away from family and adjusting to the demands of academic work are just some of the struggles faced by students. Learning to cope with this new way of life can be a huge challenge for some.
As deadlines approach, thinking about your own wellbeing can easily be forgotten about. Fortunately, here at Dundee, we have many resources and services in order to help students with a wide range of issues. Throughout this post, I will provide an insight into the range of resources available and how you can look after your wellbeing at university.
1. Physical Activity
Taking time out of your day to partake in some physical activity can be extremely beneficial. There are a variety of sports clubs to join alongside gyms such as the ISE and Pure Gym. Try out an activity such as yoga or pilates. Both have shown to boost mental wellbeing. Many gyms offer classes in both activities. Additionally, YouTube is a wonderful resource full of workout videos. If going to the gym doesn’t interest you, then try taking time out of your day to go for a walk. Not only can this be a great way to clear your head, but it can be a great way to explore and appreciate your surroundings. Fresh air and some sun can instantly boost your mood. Although Dundee is a city, there are many parks to explore, or simply walking along the waterfront can be a relaxing experience.
2. Meditate or try mindfulness.
‘Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.’
During busy days it can be difficult to simply stop and think. Simply taking time out of your day to relax and consider the present moment can be the best 5-10 minutes of your day. Research has shown that both can bring many positive benefits and improve your wellbeing. More information on the benefits of Mindfullness can be found here.
You do not have to drastically change anything to try out both of these. Establishing a routine with one of these activities is the best way to maximise its effectiveness. Guided meditations are accessible on YouTube. Additionally, there are many apps you can download onto your phone. I personally recommend Headspace or Calm. Both apps offer the ability to receive notifications so that you never forget.
3. Healthy eating
Coming home and sticking a pizza in the oven is often very tempting to do. Eating a balanced diet can bring huge benefits to your wellbeing. If you have no idea how to cook, then consider finding some recipes online. Not only will you be eating better, but you will be learning a new skill. If you have trouble trying to eat more fruit and veg, consider making smoothies. There are a variety of smoothie recipes and creating new combinations is a fun experience.
4. Take time to do stuff you enjoy
Listen to music, read a book, blog, draw, watch your favourite YouTubers or a film. Alongside these activities, make time for social events. University is a great time to develop new skills and who you are as a person. University work is important, however having a balance between activities you enjoy, and work is beneficial for your wellbeing. Putting yourself before your degree should be considered.
Cleaning up can be the last thing that comes to your mind when you’re busy. It may seem like a huge chore, however it can help improve your mood massively. Going home to a nice environment or working at a clean work-space is a much more positive experience. This is important in physical spaces, but it is also something to consider online. Follow pages/people you’re genuinely interested in and make you feel happy. In a world where we are consuming social media everyday, it is easy to not consider the effects it can have.
If you are struggling at university, there are a range of resources offered by the university. There is a dedicated page to student services which now has a shortcut on the student homepage. One example is Nightline where students can anonymously talk to someone about anything they are struggling with. Another example is the university counselling service. Students can talk to a supportive counsellor about a range of issues. Talking to someone can help significantly instead of keeping it all to yourself.