I don’t need to tell you that Uni can be tough – late nights, deadlines, home sickness… It can all leave you feeling exhausted, anxious and totally stressed out. So it’s really important to make the extra effort to look after yourself. But you don’t need an expensive spa weekend or wellness retreat: here are my top ways to look after your mental, emotional and physical health, without spending a penny.
The benefits of getting good quality, consistent sleep can’t be overstated. From reducing stress to improving memory, boosting your mood to helping strengthen your body against infection, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to look after yourself – and it’s totally free!
Drink plenty of water
Whilst there are many different opinions on how much water you should be drinking every day – and the advantages of doing so – it’s safe to say that there are some important benefits to staying hydrated. A number of studies have found, for example, that drinking enough to avoid even mild dehydration helps support brain function and our ability to carry out simple tasks, such as problem-solving. Obviously an important one for students!
And if you’re anything like I was, and get most of your liquids from wine, it’s even more important to drink plenty of water to combat the dehydration that comes along with alcohol consumption. Around 2 litres a day is ideal.
It can be really hard to eat healthily when you’re working within the constraints of time, space and money. But it’s so important – what you put into your body has a direct result on what you get out. Eating a balanced and wholesome diet, as well as you can within your budget, will ensure you have all the essential nutrients you need to keep up those energy levels, fight fatigue and be your best self.
Buying seasonal fruit and veg, and making healthy swaps (like brown rice and pasta instead of white, dark chocolate instead of milk and mixed nuts/seeds, dried fruit and oat bars instead of crisps, biscuits or chocolate bars) should mean you see an increase in your wellbeing, without seeing an increase in your budget.
Everyone’s talking about self-care right now, with good reason. Making time for yourself to recharge your batteries and enjoy the little things is so important to your mental and emotional wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated – and it’s not just for girls! Self-care only looks like nail painting and face masks if that’s what you want it to be. Self-care is entirely personal. It could be an activity, like cycling or painting; it could be a ritual, like journaling or positive affirmations; it could just be making the time to call your Mum. The point is finding time to do what’s meaningful and restorative to you.
Achieving a calm and positive state of mind has a lot to do with our surroundings. If everything around us is chaotic, we’ll absorb that energy and start to feel that way too. And being in control of your own space and how it makes you feel is even more important for students when you’re often living in close proximity to lots of other people…! From making sure your room is filled with personal touches to keeping on top of the cleaning, the little things make all the difference.
I hope this helps to inspire you to really prioritise your wellbeing. What are you favourite ways to take care of yourself?