Staying Healthy

There are 6 broader areas of life that can have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing, and here are some tips on how to ensure that things continue to go well in those areas.

University work

Exams and Deadlines

Exams and deadlines are stressful for everyone. It is important to remember that you are not the only one feeling stressed out and it does not mean you are not doing well. Here are some tips for managing exams and deadlines:

  • Set yourself small and achievable goals – by breaking down large and overwhelming pieces of work into smaller tasks.
  • Use a planner or calendar – establish what you need to achieve, set your deadlines and work through them.
  • Take time out for yourself – leave time in your schedule to see friends, get some exercise, have a treat etc. It all helps to keep the energy going.
  • Challenge your negative thinking – be aware of when you use words such as ‘must’ ‘should’ and ‘ought’ and be kinder to yourself.
  • Talk it out – if you get stuck, talk it out with friends, family or a member of staff as they may well be able to help.

Try eating more healthily & sleeping more regularly – healthy and routine patterns will help your body deal with the stress better.

Burnout

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. Make sure you don’t overwork yourself! If you feel like things are getting too much and you need help, contact your GP or make an appointment with the Open Door Team.

Relationships

Friends and Family

Friends & family are an important aspect of every person’s life, and when you move to a new place (such as university) it might be a challenge to maintain relationships with friends and family back home while building new ones. Using tools such as Skype, Whatsapp, and Snapchat is a great way of staying in touch with family and friends back home, but also make sure that you are sufficiently engaged with the new environment. The University of York has a large number of networks and societies you can join, engage in different activities, and meet new people.

YUSU have a list of societies you can join and they are open to all students.

GSA have networks and free sports sessions for postgraduate students to join.

Supervisor

Every student at the University of York is assigned a supervisor when they start their course. The main role of the supervisor is to provide academic support, but also guide the student on matters of wellbeing and personal development.

On taught programmes, a student typically has two supervisors. The first supervisor will be assigned to them when they start their course and their primary role will be pastoral, which means checking that the student is progressing and settling in well. Later in their programme, taught students will also be assigned a dissertation supervisor who will give them academic guidance regarding their thesis.

Research students, will have a main supervisor for the duration of their programme who will act as both their academic and pastoral supervisor. Research students also have a Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP) member who provides further guidance on their academic work. Some departments assign a second supervisor along with the primary supervisor and a TAP member.

The relationship you have with your supervisor is very important! Here are some tips on how to establish and maintain a good relationship with your supervisor.

How to maintain a good relationship with your supervisor
  1. Set out what you expect from supervision meetings and each other.
  2. Talk to your supervisor regularly. If you things are happening in your life that are affecting your academic work, you should let your supervisor know.

Social Life

Moving to a new environment can be stressful and meeting new people daunting, but it is important you give it a try! Especially for research students it is important to engage with university life. Research life is more isolated than studying on taught courses as there will typically be no regular lectures and seminars to attend which provide you with an opportunity to meet and chat to your colleagues. However, most departments will have activities for research students, so make sure you attend.

GSA networks and free sports sessions  and YUSU societies are also a great way to meet people and be engaged.

Doing something for someone else, such as helping a friend or relative with their chores or volunteering for a charity, has been shown to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. It can help you improve your self-confidence and meet new people, and makes you feel that you are making a positive contribution to your community. Check out our Volunteering page for more information.

Physical Wellbeing

Lack of sleep has been shown to have an impact on your mood – it can make you feel more irritable and less focused. So, make sure you get to bed before midnight and get approximately 8 hours of sleep.

The same goes for eating! Your body and mind need quality fuel to run properly. It’s important to have a balanced diet with regular meals and plenty of fruit and veg.

Being active can help reduce depression and anxiety and boost your self-confidence. It also releases endorphins – ‘feel-good’ hormones that can help improve your mood. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer gardening, gentle walking or something more active – you will almost always feel better for having done some physical activity.

Finance & Housing

Worrying about your finances or where to live can have a significant impact on your mental health and academic performance. Therefore, it is important to learn to manage your finances well.

The University of York has a Student Financial Support Unit that has all relevant information and can be contacted should you run into trouble.

Students with children:

The GSA has published a great resource for students with children that gives you advice on housing, healthcare, schools, etc.

http://www.yorkgsa.org/site/welfare/students-with-children

sources

http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/10-ways-to-look-after-your-mental-health/
http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/wellbeing/staying-mentally-well/#.Vci7K51waUk
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/improve-mental-wellbeing.aspx
http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/wellbeing/staying-mentally-well/#.VcsfNJ1waUl)