Whether you’re British or an International student, coming to university can be a daunting, even sometimes terrifying thing. It’s a new place, full of new people, and sometimes the idea of taking care of yourself during your first month can fall slightly by the wayside. However, it’s always important to remember that by making sure you stay healthy and happy everything will soon get easier to deal with.
Firstly, one of the most essential things to look after in your first month of university is your health; both mental and physical. Eating good foods, for instance, is a must. Healthy eating can often feel hard when you come home after lectures and/or seminars and just want to crack open that packet of biscuits, but there are always ways of powering through. For example, consider the aforementioned packet a treat to look forward to on the weekend. Or, if you have a special diet, replace the cookies with another sweet. Also, eat as many fruit and vegetables as you can. However, being “healthy” doesn’t mean eating like a rabbit for whole month either! Try making a weekly meal plan and mix up your usual daytime meals. Always include protein and some form of carbohydrate, even if the idea of sitting down and planning out meals seems strange. In addition, your physical health also relies on exercise which helps boost your energy levels and lets you stay in shape. To stay on top of your health, exercise at least five days a week. It’s also a good idea to exercise as soon as you wake up, preparing you for the day ahead.
Secondly, it’s easy to think that being a student, especially when in your first year, makes your sleeping pattern different. That can be true, but only if you let it. Sleep is important, but not so important that you should use up all your free time doing it. Studies have shown that as little as six hours sleep is good for the health. And if you’re craving a nap in the middle of the week, after a long lecture or seminar, try and keep it to ninety minute periods so as not to miss out or waste the rest of your day.
Finally, developing a social life is essential to your mental health, especially within your first few months at university. It probably seems obvious, but getting to know the people on your course and in your flat or house is a good aid for your overall health. By making friends on campus, and by becoming involved in societies, you are ensuring that you surround yourself with people who can help and support you if necessary. However, it is also important to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Try and keep a balance between your social life, which can prove a good distraction during your first month on your own, and your studies, so as not to lose too much time you could use for working.
Health and happiness are important during your first months at university. Taking care of yourself in these ways will help you create a pattern that will hopefully last you all year, and then it will simply become second nature. Make the most of your first year, you only get one.