January 17, 2019 | Jacqueline Hall & Finn Price
University is a time that is often described as the best four years of your life. For students, this statement creates an abundance of pressure to be involved, thrive academically, and keep a busy social agenda. These expectations are a lot to handle, so we encourage you to carve your own path and set individual goals. Along the way, keep in mind these 10 tips for long-term wellness as you navigate the tribulations of attending university.
1. Talk about your feelings
The first step to promote mental health is being aware of your emotions. Talking with others about these feelings can be very therapeutic and relieving. In opening the doors for discussion, you will realize you are not alone and can foster a relationship with someone to work together through any challenges.
2. Keep active
Frequent exercise is critical to relieving stress and maintaining balance. Often times it can be hard to make time to work out when your academic and social calendar fills up. One tip is to schedule it in or make a routine of going the same time each week. If going to the gym isn’t your cup of tea, take a walk downtown or to the pier, or sign up for a yoga or spin class. Also, you don’t have to go alone! Bring a friend to make it more social and increase accountability.
3. Eat well
We have all heard our parents preach the benefits of eating greens and having a well-balanced diet, but once you’re at university nobody is nagging you about what you eat anymore. Things to keep in mind are drinking lots of water and making a conscious effort to eat healthy foods. Food is your fuel, and it is important to eat regularly in to have enough energy to complete day to day tasks effectively and efficiently.
4. Consume sensibly
Alcohol consumption is a huge part of the social culture at Queen’s and within the commerce program. We encourage you to participate at your own discretion, being mindful of how you are treating your mind and body and drinking in moderation.
5. Keep in touch with others
In times of stress, it is even more important to avoid isolation and surround yourself with others. Continue to do the things that make you happy and be sure to laugh often. Social and human interaction is a basic need and is very important for emotion regulation and balance.
6. Ask for help and reciprocate
Tip number six is all about becoming comfortable asking your friends and family to help you when needed. We can’t deal with everything alone all the time, and your friends will be more than happy to help you out, especially if they know you will reciprocate the next time they need help. We are truly all in this together, so there is no need to go through things alone.
7. Take breaks
In order to stay healthy, it is important to take breaks from your work so that you have time to recharge and de-stress. When discussing breaks, this is not only from your work, but also from your phone and computer. Being constantly connected to the web is bound to stress you out and also distract.
8. Do things you are good at and experience success
It’s all well and good to try new things, but sometimes it is necessary to do things you know you are already good at. Success breeds more success, which can also be applied to the mental attitude when tackling new tasks. By doing something successfully, it will help you feel more confident doing things you are not as good at.
9. Accept who you are
University is a time for everyone to find themselves. There is no need to act like someone your not, because not only is it not enjoyable for you, people can often see right through it. By accepting yourself for who you are, happiness will come more often, and you will attract like-minded people, allowing for deeper friendships.
10. Sleep enough
Tip number 10 is vital to being mentally healthy. At university, it is so easy to not get enough sleep on account of homework, socializing and procrastination. However, without sleep, your cognitive ability is hindered, you feel worse during the day, and it’s hard to live in the present when you are only focused on how tired you are. By sleeping more, you will definitely feel happier and healthier.