November is Wellbeing Month here at the Students’ Union, so we’ve put together some tips to help you improve your wellbeing.
Keep fit and active
Staying active is really important for your wellbeing. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel more energetic and improve your mood. People who are physically active generally feel better about themselves, and regular physical activity is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. There's lots of ways to be active at Salford; you can join a sports team, or get involved in our non-competitive, no commitment Give Sport A Go programme. There's also the University sports centre, which offers fitness classes, four fitness suites and a swimming pool.
Eat a healthy diet
The food you eat can have a direct effect on your energy levels, physical health and mood. Recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is essential for our mental health and that a number of mental health conditions may be influenced by dietary factors. Avoid takeaways as they're full of fat, and don't provide a healthy balance of all the essential nutrients that your body needs. Cook your own meals instead- you can find loads of simple, healthy and cheap recipes here.
Cut down on alcohol and cigarettes
Regularly drinking just above the recommended levels of alcohol can be harmful, and can result in a range of long-term physical and mental issues. If you drink alcohol, it's important to keep within sensible limits. Alcohol is also a depressant which can make things seem worse, while nicotine is a stimulant which will exacerbate stress, rather than calm you down. Even reducing your cigarette and alcohol consumption slowly will still improve your health- and you'll feel the benefits! You can find more tips to cut down on cigarettes here, and alcohol here.
Get good quality sleep
It can be difficult to get enough sleep as a student, with late nights and deadlines, but good quality sleep is vital to function and perform well, otherwise you'll quickly notice symptoms from sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, low mood, anxiety, headaches and poor concentration. An simple change you can make is to turn your phone off before you go to bed. The use of electronic devices before bed has been proven to affect the time it takes to fall asleep and it also affects the quality of your sleep. The lights from the screen stimulate and encourage your brain to wake up, not wind down. There's more tips about getting better sleep here.
Talk about it
Social relationships are crucial for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health. It's so important to talk to people about how you're feeling; keeping things bottled up inside is simply bad for your mental health and wellbeing. If things do feel like they're getting on top of you, talk about it. Speak to someone you trust about the things that are causing you stress- it'll be a weight off your shoulders. The University's Wellbeing team is also there for you if you need some more support.