Maintaining your well-being at uni

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Steph Rowe

Being at uni can get stressful; balancing deadlines, socials, home life and everything else that gets thrown into the mix is a struggle for the best of us. There’s a variety of methods and resources out there to help us cope, so we might as well make the most of them!

Cardiff University has its own nightline available to students who need to talk to someone between the hours of 8pm and 8am. It is a confidential student led phone service, and the number is 02920 870555. Our university also runs Student Minds Cardiff, which is a student led service that helps support those with eating disorders and raises awareness for other mental illnesses. Their self-help support groups are held every Thursday, 6.15-7.15pm, in room 4H. Additionally there are wellbeing walk-in sessions at 50 park place everyday, where you can talk face-to-face with a staff member who can give you support, advice, self-help materials and can refer you to further support.

You can also speak to a counselor or a mental health adviser. The Mental Health Adviser’s role is to pay attention to how your long-term mental health condition could affect your functioning at university. They will offer a range of practical support options based on your individual needs and situation. All of this information can be found on the student union website.

If you find yourself getting down or stressed, there are lots of small things you can do to help yourself. I know it sounds cheesy to say ‘exercise helps’ but it really does!! Working out releases endorphins and focuses your mind and body on something other than your stress. It also helps you sleep, as your muscles are tired out and relaxed by the time you go to bed. Even if it is only a couple of times a week, you could go for a jog around Bute Park or join one of the many cheap exercise classes Cardiff university has to offer. Drinking more water is also a natural way to increase energy levels as it hydrates you and wakes you up.

If you are feeling homesick, getting in touch with friends or family from back home really helps. It is great to catch up with old friends and find out how their university experience is going. Its so surprising how many of us all suffer from the same stresses and troubles, so you might be able to offer your own advice and support while also gaining aid from them. Never keep things bottled up, and make sure you speak to friends and family so to make them aware you need their love and support while you’re going through a tough time.

Studying is vital but making time for you and your mental wellbeing is much more important. Your first priority should be your own happiness, so finding an effective way to help you relax is essential. Doing mindfulness colouring or downloading a meditation app works wonders, as it distracts you from your surroundings and stresses. If you find it hard to sleep, listening to podcasts take your mind away from all your worries. Sleep stories are also great ways to wind down as they are read in a calming manner, with lots of repetition, alliteration and relaxing imagery. We currently have a podcast on our student radio station called ‘Sleep With Liz’ that I can highly recommend, and is available to listen to on the Xpress radio’s mixcloud. Xpress radio. ‘The clinic’, which is a radio show run by students George and Jess offers advice on troubles we all face at uni, and is also available to listen to on the mixcloud.

If you ever find yourself struggling at university just know you are never

alone. No matter what the situation, your friends and family will always be there for support and will most likely relate to your troubles in one way or another. We’ve all been there!! Being away from home can be tough, but the university is well equipped with resources to help, so make sure you take advantage of them!

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