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Tools, tips and videos for student mental health

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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.

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.

View video transcript as a PDF

Managing 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.

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

Watch our video: Tips for Managing Stress

Tips for Managing Stress is an animated video explaining practical steps that might help you if you are feeling stressed.

View video transcript as a PDF

Relaxation and sleep

Relaxation techniques are a good way to relieve pressure and help manage stress as a student. You can try these regularly, or just once in a while. There are lots of different techniques, some of which will work better for you than others.

For example, you could try:

  • 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. For more information, see our pages on sleep and mental health.

Watch our video: Tips for Better Sleep

If you're struggling with your sleep at university, Tips for Better Sleep is an animated video offering practical ideas you can try.

View video transcript as a PDF

Mindfulness

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 and meeting people

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:

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.

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.

Loneliness at university

Even with plenty of social activities, anyone can feel lonely from time to time. Starting university and the challenges of the pandemic might mean that you feel lonely more often, or maybe for the first time. Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone's experience will feel different. Loneliness can impact on your mental health.

For more information, see our pages on loneliness and connecting with other students.

Watch our video: Tips to Help with Loneliness

Tips to Help With Loneliness is an animated video offering practical ideas to try if you're experiencing loneliness as a student. These ideas can help you connect with others and support yourself at university.

View video transcript as a PDF

Understanding self-esteem

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It's based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can sometimes feel really difficult to change.

You might experience periods of low self-esteem where you find it harder to be kind to yourself, try new things and meet new people. This can be caused by many factors, including university pressures or difficult times such as exams or being away from home. There are ways to increase your self-esteem, for example getting active, volunteering and setting yourself small goals.

For more information, see our pages about self-esteem.

Watch our video: Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem

If you experience low self-esteem as a student, Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem is an animated video offering practical ideas you can try. These suggestions might help you to improve the way you feel about yourself, but only try what you feel comfortable with.

View video transcript as a PDF

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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