Starting university is a big step and although exciting, it can be a challenge for anyone’s mental wellbeing.
Wendy Lavin, LJMU Student Wellbeing Team Leader, is giving her top tips on looking after your mental health during your time at university.
Be kind to yourself
Feeling nervous, anxious or stressed is completely normal for everyone starting at university, especially if you are moving to a new city, country, or out of your parent's or carer's home. You certainly won’t be the only one feeling this way! It’s also good to recognise that in your first semester you’ll experience highs and lows just like you would in normal everyday life, don’t let the pressure of ‘university being the best years of your life’ add to any stress.
If you have moved away from home, homesickness is also completely normal and 35% of students say they experience it, so talk to people about how you are feeling. Try not to go home in the first few weeks just so that you can settle in properly and get your student accommodation feeling homely instead. We’ve got lots of tips on dealing with homesickness in particular here.
For all students, joining a sports team or society at JMSU is also a great way to get involved in the fantastic community we have at Liverpool John Moores University and talk to like-minded people.
Look after your physical health
A good sleep routine can work wonders on your mental health, so try to make sure you are getting enough rest. The same goes for keeping active and maintaining a healthy diet. Eat a good breakfast, keep energy fueling snacks at hand and get cooking rather than relying on fast food.
If you are moving away from home to study, it is important that you register with a doctor (also known as GP – general practitioner). You should do this as soon as you can after moving to Liverpool. Registering as soon as you arrive will help to ensure that your GP can process your registration in good time, allowing you to access healthcare services early on if needed. Find out more information on how to register with a GP.
The importance of self-care
Looking after yourself and having that much needed down time is vital for your mental health. Try to put down your phone when you are relaxing and switch off from social media. The ability to relax is important in effectively managing stress or anxiety. Mind, the mental health charity, has their own five ways to wellbeing or visit our LJMU self-care webpage.
Take advantage of online wellbeing tools
There is a range of online tools to help with your mental health and wellbeing. Why not join Togetherall, an anonymous, safe online community to improve mental health and wellbeing. Or sign up to Silvercloud, take their wellbeing questionnaire and see which programmes can improve your emotional wellbeing.
Seek help if you need to
Knowing when to seek help is really important and LJMU’s Student Advice and Wellbeing Services offers a variety of support for your health and wellbeing. From counselling, advice and wellbeing events to mindfulness exercises, there is a range of help available. The My LJMU app also offers students the chance to book in with a Student Wellbeing Advisor too and Student Space, launched during the pandemic, works to support students as they prepare for the 2021/22 academic year.
Remember: there is always someone to talk to here at LJMU, you are never on your own, so if you need help, just ask.