September represents a significant change for students across the country as many begin university for the first time.
And although it will become one of the most exciting experiences that many of us will ever have, adjusting to a new location, university life uncertainties, and pressures can cause even the most confident among us to feel anxious.
In your first weeks at university, it’s common to feel intimidated, homesick, or overwhelmed, despite the fun that Fresher’s Week is sure to bring.
Eoin Keenan, the co-founder of wellness brand, Goodrays, offers five suggestions for managing stress and anxiety during freshers week and taking care of your mental health while at uni.
Get enough sleep
Students are notorious for late nights and lack sleep throughout their beginning weeks at university, especially when Fresher’s Week is full. However, it’s important to look after yourself, which can be daunting if it’s the first time you’ve lived away from home.
Eoin said: ‘One of the biggest contributors to stress is lack of sleep, and if you’re tired, your worries can seem bigger than they are. Try and set aside one night a week where you can relax before you go to sleep and aim for at least six hours a night.’
Join in! Freshers week is a fantastic time to make new friends, grow your confidence and learn about what your university has to offer. Many new graduates will be relocating to new cities.
It might even be some people’s first time in the city, so familiarising yourself with your surroundings is important. Start simple by finding out where the students’ bars are and where you can get your food shopping from.
Eating healthy while in university can be difficult, especially as many people have never done their food shopping or prepared their meals. Cheap and easy meals frequently lure students in, but processed food can have less nutritional value.
‘Although it seems tedious, eating regularly and well will make you feel better about yourself, reduce stress, and keep your energy levels high’, says Eoin.
Talk to someone
It may seem obvious, but so many new students tend to put on a brave face and go it alone when struggling. Yes, talk to your loved ones back home, but it can be more crucial that you share your feelings with your new roommates, housemates, and of course, friends. Many universities offer students additional support by having on-site teams who listen and help them talk through their worries.
University is the ideal time to try a new sport or activity. Regular physical activity benefits your mental health as much as your physical health. Staying active will help you feel better and reduce stress at the same time. It also offers immediate advantages for the brain, enhancing focus and concentration and allowing for better university results.