Student Wellbeing Tips While Living In Accommodation
Many people describe university as “the best time of my life”. Although, you may be reading this wondering how that’s the case…
The stress of deadlines and expected grades looming, living away from family and friends for the first time, maybe even in a new country, can all feel overwhelming.
However, you’re not alone. These feelings are completely justified and are shared by many others going through the same transitions.
Having so many changes in your life happen all at once, and at a relatively early stage in your life is bound to have an impact in one way or another.
That’s why prioritising your wellbeing is so important whilst at uni, and the reason we’ve created this list of useful wellbeing tips while living in accommodation.
Take a screen break
We know this is a difficult one to put into practice, with the majority of uni work needing to be done using some form of device. However, it’s the recreational screen time where the issues lie.
The 2022 screen time report by Uswitch shows 16-24 year olds have an average screen time of 5 hours, not including time spent working. When work-related screen time is taken into account, the daily average can easily rise to over 10 hours – it can take as little as 2 hours to trigger eye strain and migraines.
The detriment to wellbeing caused by spending too much time on our phones comes in large part from social media. Specifically, comparing ourselves to others and being exposed to unrealistic standards.
The Mental Health Foundation's 2018 study found that 49% of 18-24 year olds attributed their high-stress levels to comparing themselves to others.
So, how do you stay away from the screen?
Spending prolonged periods of time in your accommodation can make avoiding screens seem impossible, but there are some great methods that help you put your phone down and keep it there.
A common technique is to set screen time limits – most smartphones have settings for this and is a must-try if your screen time is creeping up the hours.
Building habits that replace the instinctive urge to pick up your phone and open your favourite apps is a great long-term solution. Things like reading, writing, stretching or taking up creative hobbies are perfect alternatives that support your wellbeing.
Do some simple exercise
Exercise is probably the most suggested activity for better health and wellness. However, the importance of just a small amount of exercise is often overlooked.
You don’t have to train to be a world-class athlete in order the feel the benefits. It’s recommended that you do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Moderate-intensity exercise could be a brisk walk, low-pace bike ride, dancing or swimming. Hitting this exercise target can have a tremendous impact on your sleep, mental wellbeing and energy levels.
While it sounds simple, we understand it can seem a daunting task. There are plenty of perceived barriers when it comes to finding a consistent 20-30 minutes a day to exercise, or even overcoming the anxieties associated with exercising in public.
It’s all about finding a routine that works best for you and your schedule. A simple circuit can be done in your accommodation and choosing to ditch public transport when possible can quickly add up those active minutes. The benefits you get from a simple routine can have an amazing impact on your wellbeing, however you chose to incorporate exercise into your week.
For you true student residents, be sure to make use of the free on-site gyms and in-house personal trainers to help incorporate exercise into your wellness routine!
Speak to friends and family
For many uni students living in accommodation, it will be their first time living away from family and friends. This separation can cause a range of emotions to surface that you may have never felt before.
A common feeling new uni students experience is one of isolation, which can come from the adjustment to a new period in your life, unfamiliar surroundings and, often the most significant, being away from loved ones.
The added stress from living alone for the first time can have a pretty significant effect on your wellbeing, uni work, and motivation. We don’t doubt you will make friends quickly within your accommodation, but sometimes what you need is some home comfort.
A great way to keep in touch with loved ones back home while living in accommodation is to set up weekly virtual game nights, catch-ups or even just impromptu video calls when you need a chat. Uni life can get a little hectic, but keeping in touch with friends and family back home can do wonders for your wellbeing!
Take part in student events
A large amount of your time at uni will be spent in your accommodation, and while the previous tip is great for settling those nerves around living alone, making new friends in your accommodation is one of the best ways to feel settled in your new home.
If you live in private accommodation instead of a shared living space, you may be less likely to naturally meet other people in your building. For true student residents, we have a host of free trueLife events which you can find on your building’s event calendar or by asking a member of the true team. These are a great way to meet new people in your building and take part in some fantastic events!
These are just a handful of wellbeing tips while living in accommodation. Personal wellbeing is all about finding your own healthy habits that make you feel mentally and physically amazing, all while supporting your academic performance!
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and need support, there are many helplines and resources available who are there to help! You can find a list of helplines for different situations here on the mind.org site.