Moving to a new city, making new friends, and starting a new journey of education can all be daunting experiences, which is why there’s nothing wrong with feeling anxious or stressed at university.
Keep Your Head Up
We have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to health and wellbeing at university, have a look at the latest blog posts from our student bloggers.
THE STUDENT LIFE COACH FREE CHECK-IN SERVICE
University life can come with its challenges. Students may experience stress while trying to juggle impending deadlines, part-time work and a social life. This, combined with the new lockdown measures, can make it feel all the more overwhelming. However, there is no need to struggle alone. Here we speak to The Student Life Coach, Rachel, who has recently launched a free check-in service for students struggling during these uncertain times. Read below for tips on how to manage your general wellbeing, as well as how you can access this service.
Tell us about yourself
Hey! I’m Rachel, The Student Life Coach. I am a mental health nurse with an additional degree in Psychology. I have supported hundreds of students struggling with a variety of complex and diverse mental health and wellbeing issues to get to a place of stability and happiness.
I am a wife and mum and generally a happy, fun, optimistic person. I live by the philosophy of having one chance at this whole ‘life’ thing. So we MUST get our mindset right and create opportunities to thrive and achieve crazy, wonderful things.
What was the driving force for you to start ‘The Student Life Coach’?
I understand the highs and lows of studying at University after being a student for six years. Moving away, meeting new people, trying new things, the increased academic pressures and much more. I hear you – it’s A LOT.
As a mental health nurse I have seen the impact of this from a professional perspective and again from working within a university. There continues to be a year on year increase in the number of students needing extra support to manage their mental health and wellbeing whilst at University.
Often students feel daunted at the prospect of seeking help face to face or over the phone. I wanted to eliminate those barriers and the scary ‘waiting room’ experience and create a super easy to access service that can done from the comfort of your own home.
What services are you offering?
The Student Life Coach is here for moments such as:
‘I don’t know what to do’, ‘I don’t know who to talk to’ ,‘I feel like I can’t cope’
The opportunity to speak with a mental health nurse without a specialist referral, is rare. I offer this opportunity before students reach that point where they are really unwell. Through individual sessions I provide support with a variety of issues such as:
Anxiety, stress, depression, struggles with motivation, concentration, budgeting, making friends, how to combat loneliness, confidence, thoughts of self-harm, self-esteem and much more.
I offer a FREE 20 minute online check-in chat per student. For more in-depth support and advice, I offer 1 hour individual sessions. After each session you will receive a bespoke action plan made just for you to guide you through managing your identified issues. These sessions can be booked as regularly as you like, depending on the level of support desired.
Can you share any key tips to those struggling with their mental health or general wellbeing?
- Be honest with yourself
- If you feel yourself sinking. Tell someone. Don’t bury your head in the sand. The sooner you tackle the problem, the sooner you can get back to a good, happy place
- Procrastination is NOT your friend
- No one knows how you are feeling but you. So no one can judge how you handle things because they are not you
- Don’t be hard on yourself when you’re already having a rough time
- Remember to speak to yourself they way you’d speak to a good friend. Show yourself compassion and kindness
- Hold yourself accountable to your goals. No one can do this for you. Have a note pad by your bed and set yourself small, realistic goals for the next day
- Success comes from taking that first step. Even if it’s a teeny tiny one
- If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed and panicked; take a moment to pause. Deep breathing works wonders to calm your mind and your body. After all they are both connected
- Mindset is everything. Learning tips and tricks into switching up your mindset from one filled with anxiety and dread to optimism and happiness will lead you to continual success throughout your life
For more info or to book a session, visit www.thestudentlifecoach.co.uk or hit me up on Instagram @thestudentlifecoach.
The Student Life Coach
MASK OUR HEROS INITIATIVE
We want to make a difference. That’s why we’ve launched ‘mask our heroes’, an initiative to help protect our doctors, nurses and care workers who are displaying immense bravery and saving our lives every single day during this difficult time.
There is a real shortage of PPE in our health care system so we have found a way to source some internationally and bring it into the UK within days. We have now agreed terms to buy thousands of much needed masks and hand sanitiser gels and donate them to our front-line.
This situation is beyond urgent and time really is of the essence. The more we raise, the more we can buy. The quicker we raise it, the quicker we can deliver it. Please help us raise as much money as possible so we can start giving back. All donations however big or small will be truly appreciated.
The Fusion Team
Please visit our page and donate.
TOP 5 MINDFULNESS APPS
With the current social climate it is vital to take care of our mental wellbeing, and what better time to do so by downloading a mindfulness app? I have downloaded and explored 5 different mindfulness apps, ranging from meditation to journaling, which can help to improve your mental health, sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Cost: 7 day free trial, then £28.99/year
Calm is the ‘Editor’s Choice’ of mindfulness apps on the App Store, and for good reason. The moment you open the app, you are met with a simple “take a deep breath” and a scenic background of your choice. It is easy to navigate around and doesn’t bombard you with incessant pop ups or ads, it simply exists to calm the user. Its personalised benefits offer the user an individual and unique experience, ranging from building self-esteem to reducing stress and anxiety. Stories and music are also on offer, but like most apps, a lot of content is only accessible with the paid subscription. Regardless, there is still enough for free to explore!
Cost: 7 day free trial, then £9.99 monthly OR 14 day free trial and £49.99/year
Headspace, another ‘Editor’s Choice’, is one of the happiest apps I’ve ever downloaded. Offering science-backed meditation, ranging from 3-minute solo meditations to live group ones, Headspace offers an exciting and simple introduction to mindfulness. It also provides physical workouts and exercises with a strong element of gratitude, which is what mindfulness is all about after all. This is the perfect app for those beginning their mindfulness journeys.
The Mindfulness App
Cost: 7 days free, then £54.99/year
This app is more meditation-based than the previous two, offering a 5 day guided meditation practice to begin with. If, like myself, you struggle with guided meditation however, there are also silent versions to suit all needs, with the timings ranging from 3 minutes to 30 seconds. It’s a good app for emphasising the importance of routine in mindfulness, offering an alarm system to encourage the user to take time out of their day to have a quick meditation. The premium subscription offers over 250 guided meditations by renowned teachers and more personalisation.
Breethe: Meditation and Sleep
14 day free trial, then £79.99/year
Breethe works to focus on people with sleeping problems and troubles with fatigue during the day. It is fairly common in times of stress or uncertainty for exhaustion to hit during the day, even if we feel we have slept fine, but Breethe is there to combat this. With day and night meditations, music, and personalised recommendations (even guided meditations for specific life situations), this app certainly offers a lot for improving wellbeing through mindfulness.
7 day free trial, then £27.49/year
Reflectly is a mental health online journal that tracks your daily thoughts and ramblings. Sometimes, getting your feelings out in words helps us to make sense of our confusing inner dialogues, and the calming and simple nature of Reflectly allows us to do so. The mood tracking works to dismiss negative thoughts and focus on what really matters in life, using positive psychology and mindfulness to help your inner dialogue become less damaging and more peaceful. Premium offers unlimited text, personalised insights and new daily
Mindfulness apps are a great way to pass the time and take control of ourselves, especially during a time of uncertainty and the reliance of technology. Personally, I would recommend Calm the most due to the price range (should you choose to take the premium subscription) and the amount on offer for non-subscribed users, as the unpaid benefits of the app will certainly suffice for mindfulness users on a budget. In comparison to Breethe, which has a much higher yearly subscription, Calm offers a wide range of activities from meditation and breathing techniques to stories to listen to before sleep, proving the popularity of the app. It may even be worth making use of the 7 day trials on every app to get a nice introduction to mindfulness.
By Imogen Killner
Coronavirus (Covid-19): Support
Your health and wellbeing is our highest priority and we want to make you feel as supported as possible whilst living at Fusion.
We want you to be assured that we are doing everything possible to make your home a safe environment to live and study. This includes seeking support and advice from our panel of certified experts including a Doctor, Health and Safety advisor and Mental Health support specialist.
To our residents
To help you through this time we are continuing our 24/7 support to all residents. A member of the team will be available at reception but please be mindful of social distancing when waiting in the area.
You can also contact each team using the usual email address:
If you would like to contact the central team privately by email, please use: firstname.lastname@example.org
A message from our Co-Founder, Nigel Henry
What action is Fusion taking?
Whilst following all guidance updates on the COVID-19 situation, we are working really hard to ensure that you all remain comfortable in the safety of our lovely buildings.
We also have an important responsibility to ensure your social spaces are as safe as possible and to that end, we continue to monitor the health of everyone in the buildings and continue to provide the most robust cleaning regime possible.
We also have a responsibility to our Fusion team members working in the buildings. Therefore, we have put into place measures to support our team members should they need to self-isolate at home and have lessened their risk of exposure to infection while traveling to the buildings by reducing their working hours.
Our buildings will be staffed by our teams between the hours of 9am- 5pm and although there will be no services available outside of these hours (except for those of an emergency nature), the offices will remain open 24/7, as usual.
Please help us, help you, by washing your hands frequently.
As you, our resident, and our Fusion team are our absolute priority, we are implementing a strict no-visitor policy for the next couple of weeks to reduce the size of social gatherings and keep you all safe.
Now more than ever, we are committed to delivering our aim of creating a home that you love to live in. We understand that you will be adjusting to daily life and that feeling comfortable and occupied will be a top priority. For this reason, we will be in touch more than normal to keep you feeling motivated, supported and connected to your Fusion Students’ community.
To help us do this, email your Residence Manager to be added to the new community WhatsApp group for updates on activities we continue to plan for you. Although we are reducing the level of contact and social mass gatherings, we are busy working hard on creating lots of fun and varied activities for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own apartments.
If you need anything outside of the amended working hours, we have teams available to respond to your needs. Please continue to email, text and phone via the below details and we will respond or redirect your query as appropriate as soon as we are able:
What is coronavirus (Covid-19)?
Covid-19 is a new illness that is caused by a virus called coronavirus and can affect your lungs and airways. The NHS states that the symptoms are:
- A high temperature (this means that your chest or back is hot to touch).
- A new, continuous cough (this means coughing lots for more than one hour or three coughing episodes within 24 hours).
If you have either of these two symptoms, you should self-isolate for seven days.
For the latest information on coronavirus and its symptoms, visit the NHS website.
If you are feeling unwell, have recently travelled to a high-risk area or are planning to travel abroad in the near future, or if you want to speak to someone in our team, please use the contact details below.
10 FUN THINGS TO DO AT HOME
Adjusting to the current change in our daily routine can be tough, but by taking care of yourself mentally you will be better equipped to deal with it. Spending more time at home doesn’t have to be boring! In this post we’ve put together our top 10 list of fun and productive things to do at home.
1. Stay in touch digitally
2. Take an online course
There are only so many series that you can binge on Netflix. Use the time as an opportunity to expand your knowledge. The internet holds a plethora of online courses, ranging from astronomy and horticulture to climate change solutions. Or maybe you fancy picking up a new language? Speed learning languages and Duolingo both offer easy and accessible online tutorials, that will have you fluent in a second language in no time.
3. Practice meditation
The powers of meditation are boundless. It can help you to unwind and remove yourself from the fast paced and hectic world outside. When current daily routines are thrown off course, introducing some relaxation time into your day can help keep you from edging on the verge of insanity!
4. Stay positive
Staying in the same space for a long period of time can be damaging to our mental health. Writing down some positive things about ourselves can help boost motivation and offset any negative thoughts we may have.
5. Learn something new
Reading can be great way to relax and expand our knowledge. You never know, you might even pick up a new area of interest, even things you’d never have thought of before. Apps such as ‘curiosity’ are made to help us learn something new. Watching documentaries is also a great alternative too, it can be on anything you like and does not require much effort!
6. Start a new hobby
Why not spend your time on a new hobby or rekindling your love with one of your old ones? Whether that is dusting off your guitar and learning that song you’ve always wanted to, or finally learning how to cook, nothing is more fulfilling than personal achievements for no reason other than happiness.
7. Reorganise your room
As the saying goes, “tidy house, tidy mind”. Use the time at home wisely and declutter your room. If you can never find what you’re looking for, reorganise your things. You never know, you might even find a few things you’d forgotten about!
8. Get your work down
Just because the Semester is over early, does not mean you don’t have any work to complete (unless your extraordinarily ahead). Make sure that you are fitting your Uni work into your weekly schedule. Not only will it be a great distraction but having some extra time now means you can focus, without your social life getting in the way. Make sure that you are tuning into your online classes.
9. Do an online exercise workout
Try to stay active by completing an at home workout routine. There are plenty of free online workouts that can be accessed on the Internet. Maybe try something you haven’t done before, like practicing yoga?
10. Take part in a gaming tournament
All you gamers, have a look online for a new game to play and complete. You could invite all of your friends to join too. If you’ve got headphones you can stay connected to whilst playing.
By Charlie Sawyer, Kieran Singh and Chloe Williams
3 SMOOTHIES TO BOOST YOUR ENERGY LEVELS
University life can come with its challenges. Students may feel stressed trying to juggle impending deadlines, part-time work and a social life. At times of stress it can feel tempting to reach for last night’s pizza, but maintaining a healthy diet is vital and has been linked to better memory and alertness. Read below for three of my easy to make smoothie recommendations, which will give you that extra energy boost to start the day well.
Peanut butter and banana
This smoothie provides healthy fats and proteins, giving you the perfect morning boost. We’ve suggested adding protein powder to improve strength and performance for those working out or doing sports. Flax seeds are an antioxidant said to be great at preventing constipation, high cholesterol and heart disease. Agave nectar contains less sugar than honey, making it great for weight loss.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
- 1-2 overripe bananas
- 2-3 tbsp peanut butter
- Half a pint of semi skimmed milk or milk alternative
- 1 scoop of protein powder
- 2 tbsp of oats (optional)
- 1 tbsp of agave nectar
- 1 tbsp of flax seeds
Add banana, peanut butter, milk, protein powder, oats, agave nectar and flax seeds into a blender
- Blend until smooth and serve
Super Berry Mix
This smoothie is loaded with antioxidants and is high in fibre. Berries are also one of the best fruits to use if you’re looking to lose weight, as they tend to be the lowest in sugar.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
- 6 strawberries
- 10 blackberries
- 6 blueberries
- 250 ml of yoghurt or dairy free alternative
- Half a pint of semi-skimmed milk or alternative
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- Ice cubes
- Add strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, yoghurt, milk, chia seeds and finally some ice into a blender
- Blend until smooth and serve
The fruits and vegetables used in this smoothie are all great sources of carbohydrate, which help to provide your body with energy. Kefir, a fermented drink, is rich in probiotic bacteria and promotes a healthy gut.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
- 2 apples sliced
- 1 avocado
- 200g of spinach
- 100g of kale
- 6 raspberries
- 100 ml of kefir
- Add apples, avocado, spinach, kale, raspberries and kefir into a blender
- Blend until smooth and serve
By Kieran Singh
As the saying goes: healthy body, healthy mind. While you’re staying at Fusion, you’ll have access to a wide selection of exercise facilities and fitness classes to suit every workout preference. Open 24 hours a day, our gyms are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and our personal trainers are on hand to help you achieve your fitness goals. The range of classes includes yoga, Pilates and aerobics, bringing people together for weekly workout sessions.