University is an opportunity to grow, both personally and academically, to make new friends, have new experiences and, in some cases, to learn to live independently. A certain level of stress and anxiety is normal and it actually helps motivate us, however when things become too much it's important to seek help.
Here are some steps towards improving your wellbeing from LJMU's Student Engagement Manager, Rebecca Gee:
1. Give something back
"We encourage students to volunteer and not just for the benefits to their CV. It's a great way to build confidence and making a positive impact gives people a real sense of wellbeing and achievement. Lots of students find that they make new friends and feel part of the local community. Helping other people can provide a welcome distraction from the stresses of everyday life."
2. Take notice
"We live in an incredibly busy world and even when we're not doing anything at all, our minds are still active. We are often so distracted that we are no longer present and we miss out on the things that are the most important to us. While waiting for a lecture, leave your phone in your pocket, be more in the ‘here and now’, tune in to the way you are feeling and your breathing as well as what is going on around you."
3. Be active
"Studies have found that being active is one of the best things we can do for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Just 10 minutes of physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for mental wellbeing, even if it’s just having a walk in between lectures. LJMU provide free gym memberships to our students, so there is no excuse not to try a new activity."
4. Connect with others
"It’s important to remember when you start university that everyone is in the same boat. University is a real opportunity to interact with a wide range of people and create a support network for yourself. JMSU offer a number of clubs and societies which are a great way of using a shared interest to facilitate making connections. The Student Opportunities Team offer many activities which bring people together to enjoy a cultural activity such as a play or an exhibition."
5. Keep on learning
"Of course you're at university to continue your education, however the opportunities for learning are so much wider than just academic: learning to live independently, managing your money and your time. University is an ideal opportunity to learn something new. Whether it’s learning a new language using the library’s free language software, joining a club or society, or attending a debate."
"It's important to develop your own wellbeing toolkit as sometimes we all need extra support or a gentle nudge to look after ourselves to ensure we keep well. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. There is so much help and support available at LJMU."
Where to get help
The Student Engagement Team are a first point of contact if you are having any issues affecting your studies and/or mental health and wellbeing. Student Engagement Officers are located in each school or faculty across the University and can refer you to a counsellor or mental health advisor if needed.
The Disability Team can provide you with financial and practical support. If you have a diagnosed mental health condition, you can seek support from them.
There are a range of other services such as money advice, accommodation advice, support for international students and support for young adult carers and care-leavers.
Our Student Opportunities Team help tackle issues like loneliness by offering a range of free cultural activities that help bring students together. The Student Minds society within the Students' Union can provide useful resources.
Student Advice and Wellbeing have a range of workshops to equip you with the skills to look after your own wellbeing as well as useful strategies and resources.
What you eat can also affect your wellbeing. If you're interested in finding out how to improve your diet, nutrition expert, Professor Graeme Close, gives his top tips for healthy eating.