For uni students, staying fit and healthy both physically and mentally can be as challenging as waking up for an 8am lecture! When life gets in the way: particularly during times of increased workloads, assessment due dates, and study breaks, we sometimes forget to take care of our own health and happiness. In this short blog, to mark ‘Mental Health Week’ (9–15 October 2016), I have compiled a list of simple activities that really help in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing, aptly titled ‘The Ultimate Relaxation Guide’.
1. Place a bowl of fruit on your desk while reading/revising. This not only assists in providing your body with a source of natural sugar, but it is a healthy alternative for anyone with a sweet tooth! Strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and raspberries are all examples of fruit that can be easily snacked on while studying.
2. Meditate. Or practise breathing techniques. This can increase concentration, awareness, and decrease stress levels! The Student Guild offers yoga sessions every Tuesday 6.30-7.30pm at the University Club (free for members and $5 for non-members).
3. Go for a walk. Whether it be for ten minutes or thirty minutes, going for a short walk before writing an assignment can help to increase brain activity (and makes you feel much more attentive). This can also help with the infamous ‘mental block’.
4. Climb a mountain. Mountains are like big assignments, hugely intimidating when you haven’t started but so satisfying when you reach the end. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or expert, there are many mountains on the coast to suit your needs! Be sure to read up on all safety precautions before undertaking any climbing.
5. Read… for fun. Sometimes, all you need is a warm bed, a big blanket, and a good book. If you’re not a big reader, then relax by watching a movie with a big bowl of popcorn!
6. Drink a warm beverage. Particularly during those late night study sessions, tea, hot chocolate, warm milk, etc. are all wonderful drinks to elevate your mood.
7. Colour. There’s something incredibly soothing about colouring in. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a piece of assessment, take a break and colour. Mindfulness books can be found at any book shop or stationary store, or can also be printable online. This one sounds so simple but can genuinely be very therapeutic.
8. Socialise. Whether going to the movies, beach, dinner, walking your dog, or staying at home watching Netflix, having some time with other people is the best way to take your mind off of uni work.
9. Set goals. Even setting small goals per day- such as reading a chapter of a textbook, or drinking 8 glasses of water- helps to increase overall mental wellbeing by creating a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it assists in dividing up/prioritising all your tasks for the day!
10. Rest and refresh. We all know that getting enough sleep can sometimes be impossible; so, in these instances, it is even more important to rest your mind while studying. Be sure to follow a routine that works for you (whether it be 30 minutes of work and 10 minutes of relaxation, 40 minutes of work and 15 minutes of relaxation, etc), and you will certainly be able to accomplish both work and rest without burning out.
If at any time this semester you feel overwhelmed, be sure to check out Student Wellbeing. Located at the ground floor of Building E, the staff at Student Wellbeing can assist you Monday-Friday 8.30am-5pm. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com.
By Tayla Dokonal