How to improve your student wellbeing at university

In my previous article on student mental health I discussed “less tangible” aspects of student wellbeing, anxiety in particular.

Best education and learning quotes
Best education and learning quotes

I would definitely recommend having a read through that if you are struggling with student mental health and anxiety at university (or when studying in general).

However, in this post we will focus more on the “tangible” aspects that can impact your student wellbeing.

I truly believe that taking care of yourself when studying should be part of the actual academic programme.

In my opinion, universities should regularly discuss student wellbeing during lectures, not with random emails outside of academic hours!

Nevertheless, this also shows that you are your best friend, so don’t rely on others to take care of you!

Take care of yourself when studying!

Why should you always look to improve your student wellbeing? Remember that your study performances are strictly related to your overall wellbeing..

Put it this way, the better you feel when you study the more you can concentrate and learn effectively.

It’s like a chain, improving your student wellbeing will make you study better, which ultimately will reflect on your grades.

That is the most obvious reason why you would want to improve yours, but not the only one. Do it for yourself!

Student wellbeing: stay hydrated!

It is easy to forget to drink enough water while you are studying. Among other serious health consequences, dehydration can cause dizziness, disrupt your sleep, lead to stress and disorientation.

You don’t really want to experience that while studying, even worse you might not even realise it!

Whether you are studying from home or at university, always carry your water bottle with you. Most universities have numerous water points around the campus, learn where they are placed.

Don’t forget the library have some too!

When studying from home keep your water bottle on your desk at all time, where you can see it constantly. Refill it first thing in the morning and set a target (e.g. by midday I’ll have to refill it again etc).

Student wellbeing: healthy diet (or healthy snacks at least!)

It is quite obvious that a healthy diet can have a positive impact on your wellbeing as a student. What do gym fanatics, runners and sporty people in general all have in common?

A healthy diet, it gives them more energy and makes them feel better.

This is not any different for when studying! Eating healthy as a student can help a lot, I tried it myself in a sort of “experiment”; you can find out more in this other article if you want, how I changed my diet to study better.

Whether or not you want to change your eating habits as a student it’s completely up to you. However, I would suggest to at least have healthy snacks during your study breaks.

Rather than oily crisps or sugar-heavy snacks, I’d suggest to go for something like almonds, fruits and dark chocolate (those were my favourite but you can find other alternatives).

A tip I can give you on changing your eating habits as a student is: do it gradually!

If you switch to a healthy diet (or just snacks) all of sudden, you are most likely going to hate it and go back to your previous habits.

Student wellbeing: Stay active

There is huge misconception on staying active as a student. In fact, many interpret this as going to the gym.

What about if you don’t like it, or maybe you don’t have time for it? Again, forcing yourself into something you don’t fancy will not last for long.

Whereas I myself liked going to the gym time to time, or for a run when the whether was nice; stay active in my opinion does not necessarily mean exercise.

For example, what about going for a walk in between your study breaks or lectures? It is important to get some fresh air while studying!

Going for a nice walk outside might not always be possible, particularly during winter. If you are studying from home (or at the library), remember to stretch your muscles regularly!

Stretching is a very important activity to improve your student wellbeing. Why? It helps to improve your posture when sitting at your desk, many students struggle with that.

Moreover, it reduces muscle tension, which ultimately affect your studies (I still remember that sense of stiffness in my neck, not to even mention lower back pain!)

Student wellbeing: know when to stop studying! (set your study targets)

We have this picture in mind of students spending hours, sometimes entire days, sitting at a desk and studying.

The question is, how productive is that? At a certain point you won’t be able to study effectively anymore, no matter how much longer you stay on those books.

So is it worth continuing to study after you reach that point? You will bring unnecessary stress on yourself, which will impact your student wellbeing.

By being unproductive you will also waste time that you could use to do something else, for yourself!

My advice is to set your targets for the day. You could do that by time (e.g. today I aim at 1-2 full hour(s) of quality study time;

I’d also suggest to try time management study methods such as the pomodoro technique); or by topics (e.g. today I aim at learning and understanding this topic(s) fully).

In this other article I discussed in detail the 3 best study methods I used for effective learning and exam revision, you might find it helpful!

Student wellbeing, conclusions

Improving student wellbeing should be, in my opinion, a priority for any student. I believe there is currently a lack of awareness around this topic.

Many still have the mindset of “because you are a student everything is acceptable”; from cheap (often junk) food to lack of sleep and unnecessary stress.

I also believe universities are not doing enough to improve overall student wellbeing. Emails are sent randomly and events/sessions are scheduled out of academic hours, resulting in poor student engagement.

Throughout an academic calendar there are sessions on “discovering the campus”, “the university website”, “academic writing” and so on.

Adding one on student wellbeing and deliver it every semester might have a positive impact.

In any case, take care of yourself and don’t rely too much on others. Do your research, as you are doing now, to improve your student wellbeing.

I really hope you found my post helpful, best of luck!

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