How to take care of your health as a student
As your year at university starts gaining momentum, your schedule will quickly fill up: lectures, studying, extra-curricular activities, socialising, exercising, cleaning… Phew, even that list is exhausting to read! With your busy new life, it’s far too easy to neglect your own health – you might find yourself sleeping significantly less or adopting poor eating habits. And this is totally understandable, because as students, we’re super tight with our time! Perhaps freshers’ flu is unavoidable (and debatably a mandatory ritual that forms part of the true uni experience), but questionable health doesn’t have to become your new norm. Here are a few student-friendly tips on taking care of your wellbeing.
1. Register with the local GP
Unless you’re residing at your family’s address for the duration of your degree, you must register with the local GP near your halls address when you arrive. Your university or college probably has a student health centre attached to it – you’ll be given instructions and handouts during induction week on how to register.
2. Check your jabs
Your university will usually be really proactive in making sure you’ve gotten all the right vaccinations upon first arriving. Also, you’re eligible as part of the NHS vaccination programme, so check it out to see what you’ve missed.
3. Don’t forget your teeth!
Pretty self-explanatory – register with a local dentist. You may not feel it necessary to do so, but if your filling randomly comes out and you’ve still got another two months to go before you travel home, you’ll really thank yourself.
4. Walk in if you need to
Even if you don’t plan on being sexually active, know the walk-in centres, pharmacies and health services in your area (a list of all the sexual health support services near you can be found here). Getting contraception is very easy, super common and much less daunting than you think – let’s not recreate a “Love, Rosie” scenario, shall we?
5. Get your five-a-day
I know, I know – this saying has probably been drilled in since primary school (don’t even start with that pesky food pyramid), but in this context, it’s simply the idea of healthy eating (i.e. don’t go paranoid if you’ve fallen short 0.5 portions). Getting take-outs every day is certainly tempting, but don’t wait until the point where your body desperately craves something fresh, healthy and nutritious; the impact your diet has on your wellbeing is way more connected than you think.
6. Don’t force every 9am
Now, don’t twist my words here – I’m not saying you should skip lectures (sorry), but if you wake up with a pounding headache, feel extremely fatigued, and it definitely isn’t because of last night’s partying, there really is no benefit in dragging yourself to a lecture when you can’t concentrate anyway. And if you find yourself falling ill during lectures, just go home or see the doctor. Seriously, it’s much easier to admit you’re sick than pretend you’re fine; plus, the faster you get better, the quicker you can get back into the grind.
If you'd like to learn more about mental health resources take a look at our Mental Health and University Students page. Alternatively, check our Mental Health Hub to find out who you can contact at your university for more information.