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Looking after yourself

In this video, Rosie gives students some pointers on taking care of their wellbeing while at university.
Hi, everyone. I’m Rosie. I was a student at the University of York. And I now work in Student Life and Well-being Top tip to students is to have a look at the five ways to well-being. So they’re giving, being active, keeping learning, connecting, and taking notice. And giving could be being involved in volunteering at university. Or it could simply just be helping out a housemate. Being active– you could join a university sport society. You could go to a yoga class. Or you could just simply go for a walk. And then with keep learning, it’s about thinking outside of your academic studies. About learning, for example, new skills, or learning about something that you’re just really interested in.
Then with connecting, you could join a society. Or you could just simply ring up a friend, an old school friend, and have a chat on the phone. Then taking notice is about just being mindful of what’s around you. And I think those five ways to well-being can be really helpful for students.
What I would say to students if they are finding they’re struggling at university is firstly, it’s OK and quite natural to struggle. I found things difficult as well. And I think there’s this pressure at university for it to be the best time of your life. And when it’s not living up to that expectation, it can feel really disheartening. So like I said, it is quite natural to struggle. It’s OK. And what I would say is do ask for help and support from those around you.
So there are lots of different types of supports available at uni. You could simply speak to one of your friends or someone you trust. And there are often student mentors, peers, who are there to help support and signpost you. There might be someone like me, who has been a student, who’s trained to coach and to guide students and signpost as well. If it’s more academic struggles, you can speak to someone in your academic department. And they can help to guide you. And then there is often mental health and counselling support available, and also advisors. So at the university, we have the Student Hub who have advisors for different difficulties that people may be facing.
And then there’s also the student union. So there’s support from them as well. I think the best way to know what support is available is to have a look at the university’s websites. Look on there what support there is. But I think what was really helpful for me as well was to get that extra support, but to also carry on what I was doing. So, going to the squash club and meeting up with my friends– that helped me to stay well as well.

We have covered a lot this week but we just want to round off with this important message about wellbeing and looking after yourself.

Going to university can be both exciting and challenging. Thinking about and looking after your wellbeing is really important, whether you feel you are doing well, or are finding things difficult. There are many ways in which you can look after your wellbeing whilst you are at university, so here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Firstly, having a balance between study and ‘life’ is important. It might be that you join a society or sports club, attend one of the weekly activities within your college, or simply listen to your favourite music. It’s important to take some time out from studying and do other things that you enjoy.

Secondly, staying connected with people can also help you to stay well. Whether that be reaching out to someone back home, or having a coffee with one of your coursemates, keeping connected with other people can prevent us from feeling isolated.

It’s OK to ask for help

There may be times at university when your wellbeing isn’t as good, and you are finding things a bit more difficult. That might be during the first few months of university, or further on in your journey. That’s ok, and it’s important to know that you are not alone if you do start to struggle. There is support out there should you need it. One key thing to remember is that it is ok to ask for help (in the video above, Rosie gives some tips on how to do that).

At York

One really useful source of support that is free to all students at the University of York is the Big White Wall. This is an anonymous online community where members can support each other and trained professionals are available 24/7. They also have self-guided courses on a range of topics including procrastination and perfectionism.

The College Teams at the University of York help to provide a listening ear to students and can signpost them on to other services if needed. They might signpost students to Open Door, which is a team of mental health practitioners, or to the Student Hub if they would like advice on housing, financial support, or are part of an underrepresented student group.

As you can see, there is a lot of support available, and navigating the different services can sometimes be a little overwhelming and confusing if you are a student trying to find the right person to speak to. If in doubt, speak to someone from your University support team.


As a final note, please remember that your wellbeing matters. Looking after your wellbeing will allow you to make the best of university, to do well in your studies, and to flourish.

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