for better mental health

Tools, tips and videos for student mental health

On this page:

To better manage your mental health as a student, there are some self-care ideas you can try. Get general advice for ways to look after your mental health, as well as extra video content to help illustrate our tips.

All of our animated videos are part of our Mentally Healthy Universities programme, supported by Goldman Sachs Gives. We've got more video content coming soon to this page, covering topics such as managing your sleep and coping with stress.

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Five Ways to Wellbeing

It can feel hard to remember to look after yourself sometimes. This technique helps you better manage your mental and physical wellbeing.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing were researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. The Five Ways are:

  • Connect
  • Be active
  • Take notice
  • Learn
  • Give

They are designed to give a template for anyone to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Find out more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Watch our video: Five Ways to Look After Your Wellbeing

Five Ways to Look After Your Wellbeing is an animated video explaining tips and techniques you can try for the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Remember you can sign up for all the latest Mentally Healthy Universities videos.

View video transcript as a PDF

Coping with stress and student pressures

Pressure, and the stress it creates, can be caused by many aspects of student life. It could be triggered by exams or coursework, friendships and relationships, or uncertainty in the coronavirus situation for example.

There are various steps you can take to help relieve pressure. These could involve:

  • identifying your triggers
  • organising your time
  • addressing some of the causes
  • accepting the things you can’t change.

Organising your time can be simple things like ensuring you always have lunch at the same time, or expanding your university timetable to incorporate self-study.

It is important to note that different things will work for different people and you should only try what you feel comfortable with.

For more information, see our page about dealing with pressure.

Watch our video: how to cope with stress

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques are a good way to relieve pressure and help manage stress. They can be used regularly, or just once in a while. There are also lots of different techniques, some of which will work better for you than others.

Some examples you could try include:

  • focusing on your breathing
  • spending time in nature
  • relaxing your body by lying down.

Find out more about relaxation techniques.

Relaxation and sleep are closely linked. Take a look at our animated video below for tips on how to sleep better. For more information, see our pages on sleep and mental health.

Watch our video: how to sleep better


Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment. This means within in your mind, body and surroundings. With mindfulness, you're noticing the present without judging anything.

It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual or have certain beliefs to try it. Many people find practising mindfulness helps them manage their wellbeing, but it isn’t for everyone.

For more information, see our pages about mindfulness.

Getting active

There are lots of different ways you can get active as a student, but the most important thing is finding something you enjoy. Getting active has many benefits. It can help to:

Find out more about our policy work on sport, physical activity and mental health. For more information and ideas, see our pages on physical activity.

Watch our video: how to increase your self-esteem

Social activities

Socialising and meeting new people can be another positive side of getting active. Your university will have a variety of sports clubs, societies and activities you could join. You may need to check their current schedule due to COVID-19.

It might feel harder to meet new people at university at this time, but there are ways to combat feeling lonely. For more information, see our pages on loneliness and connecting with other students.

Watch our video: dealing with loneliness

Complementary and alternative therapies

Complementary and alternative therapies typically take a holistic approach to your physical and mental health. This means that they consider all aspects of your physical and emotional wellbeing as a whole, rather than treating particular symptoms separately.

For example, some complementary therapies focus on the mind, body and spirit or on the flow of energy through your body. Note that some alternative therapies do come at a cost, which may limit your access.

Some examples of therapies you might have heard of include:

  • aromatherapy
  • reflexology
  • acupuncture

Find out more about complementary and alternative therapies.

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