Blog: #HealthyU Self-Care

Last March when I was running in elections, one of my manifesto points was ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’. This was an alternative to competitive sport every week, so that everyone has the chance to focus on their wellbeing (physical and mental), no matter their ability. I wanted there to be a chance for everyone to get involved.

I’ll be the first person to admit how hard it is to practise self-care – especially if you already struggle with your mental health. This year, I’ve learnt how difficult it is to prioritise your wellbeing, and that it gets even harder when there are a million other things to worry about. With this in mind, our campaign for summer term is Stressbusters. This is the perfect time to make sure you’re focusing on your wellbeing, so that you can keep on top of your mental health and sail through the stress of deadlines and exams.

What is self-care?

Self-care is making time to look after yourself. From a basic level of getting enough sleep or making sure you take necessary medication, through to doing things that make you happy – like reading a good book or listening to your favourite song. It’s easy to lose track of self-care, especially when you’re bogged down by essays and exams, but looking after yourself is really important.

Here are some of my tips for practicing self-care:

  • Put down your phone/laptop and take a 10 minute break from your screen.
  • Keep in touch with friends – don’t isolate yourself, especially if you’re feeling stressed.
  • Create a sleep routine so you’re well-rested but also aren’t oversleeping.
  • Celebrate your achievements – even if they’re small!
  • Figure out what relaxes you – listen to your favourite song, go for a walk or run, have a cup of tea, wear your favourite outfit. Self-care is a personal thing, so it’s about figuring out what works for you. Sometimes it’s helpful to write a list of these things to remind yourself to take care of yourself when you feel more stressed.

Another way to destress and practice self-care is by doing some mindfulness. I try to do 10 minutes of breathing exercises every day to relax and focus my mind. Some apps that I find helpful are:

  • Stop, breathe, think
  • Calm
  • Pacifica

These are really helpful for keeping track of your mood, reducing stress and learning how to meditate. Check out Steff’s #HealthyU daily tasks – one of them is mindfulness! You can also take part in the competition to win a Fitbit!

Keep an eye out for all of the events the SU is running for Stressbusters and Steff’s #HealthyU Wellbeing Week! As always, if you have any ideas of events you’d like to see or want to chat more about looking after yourself, feel free to drop me an email.

Laura Lewis
Co-President, Welfare and Diversity