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12 tips for staying mentally healthy at university

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By Hannah Morrish, Student Choice and Higher Education Lead at The Student Room

If you feel like you’re prone to feeling anxious, a healthy, mindful strategy is super important whilst you’re at uni.

Proactively managing your emotional health will help you feel much more in control, and knowing where you can get help if you need it will also calm those worries. Here’s how to cover the basics and stay clear of those anxiety triggers.  

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The basics

Create a new routine and stick to it. Feeling in control will make you feel great and you’ll wake up every day knowing your plan.

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Make time to do what you love. The familiarity of doing things you have always enjoyed will help you feel more like you. No matter how busy you get with uni life, book out some time for you.

Eat three balanced meals a day and have a snack in your bag for in-between lecture munchies. Crashing sugar-levels will only feed your nerves.

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Get moving. Exercise releases plenty of happy hormones. If sport or the gym isn’t your thing, walk to campus regularly rather than catching the bus.

If you’re partying hard, make sure you get a good night sleep the next night and eat well, stay away from caffeine and make sure you drink plenty of water. Hangovers and feeling over-tired can leave you feeling anxious and icky the next day.

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“I feel lonely”

Keep any homesickness in check by regularly chatting with friends and family on WhatsApp. A quick FaceTime can fix pretty much anything.

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Remember you can use the university welfare services run by students, like Nightline, if you want to get it off your chest in confidence to someone impartial.

Try to connect with people who have similar interests to you - joining societies and student groups aren’t just for freshers, so don’t feel shy in trying out some new things over your time at uni.

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“I’m struggling with my course”

Remember that you’ve done well enough until now in your studies to have your place at uni - you’ve earned your spot! If you are feeling anxious about the workload or a one of your modules, make sure you speak to your personal tutor or one of your lecturers.

Universities are full of support services and activities to help you settle in to the year and manage your assignments; help yourself by finding what’s on offer and grabbing it with both hands.

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“I feel broke”

Consider getting a part-time job on campus. Student unions and universities make great employers because they understand that your commitments to your studies and will be able to provide you with flexible hours around your timetable. From bar work, to open day ambassador, to barista, there are lots of options that will not only help you bring in a bit of extra dosh but also expand your university network.

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Getting support on campus

Universities and student unions are brilliant at providing peer-to-peer welfare services, alongside professional counsellors and therapists. If you're struggling, don't pretend you aren't. Universities have a lot of support available to you, often including free counselling and guidance, so don't be afraid to ask for it and use what’s available. 

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