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.
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
THE FITNESS INFLUENCERS TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM
Staying fit whilst keeping on top of Uni assignments can feel like a chore. However, with exam season looming it is more important than ever to stay active and healthy.
Not only is exercise good for your muscles and bones, it can also help to improve your cognitive health. When you exercise your brain produces endorphins, which are natural painkillers, helping improve your sleep and reduce stress levels. Creating an at home exercise plan that works for you can be a really good way to stay fit, as well as keep up with your studies. That’s why I have chosen two of my favourite female fitness influencers to give you the best advice on at home workouts.
This 25-year-old personal trainer/model posts regular at-home workouts through her Instagram page, as well as offering advice on food and meal plans through IGTV videos. If you are interested in healthy eating, as well as hitting the gym, her account is definitely a visit.As well as posting on her Instagram account, she also offers lengthier versions of workouts under herself named YouTube Channel, so make sure to check that out too! In addition to this she also has a free to download (pay for subscription) app called Tone and Sculpt, which allows its users to track their progress. The app offers a personalised service, providing a workout guide catered to the persons own specific needs and goals.
Instagram handle: @krissycela
Instagram followers: 1.8m
YouTube account: Krissy Cela
App: Tone & Sculpt
First gaining recognition for documenting her fitness, dieting and healthy lifestyle in 2016, the 23-year-old has gained over 1.2 million followers. Offering her expertise on all things fitness and healthy living, Megan also includes snaps from her private life as well as offering fashion and styling tutorials. In addition to her Instagram account she also runs a successful YouTube channel, with a playlist focused on workouts that you can try out at home or at the gym.
Instagram handle: @meggangrubb
Instagram followers: 1.2m
YouTube: Meggan Grubb
Make sure to follow these two amazing fitness accounts, as well as subscribing to both of their YouTube channels, for everything you need to keep you motivated and healthy whilst at home! As well as checking out these two great fitness accounts, you can download apps such as BetterMe and 30-Day Fitness for all the at home workouts that you could possibly want, catered to you, all on your phone.
By Chlóe Williamson
STUDENTS REPORT BETTER WELLBEING IN PBSAs
Gone are the days of just thinking only about the distance between your accommodation and your lectures. While many people continue to opt for University halls, the last few years have seen an increased demand for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).
Life as a student is full of options, opportunities and choices. While some decisions are simple, others can have big impacts on our health and wellbeing without us even realising. One of the first decisions you are faced with as a student is where you should live. Research has shown that “those living in PBSA in their first year are almost twice as likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their physical health (60%) than those living in halls (32%). In addition, they are 26% more likely to achieve top grades than those living in halls of residence, and 15% more likely than those living at home.”, (Michael Lloyd, Mortgage Introducer). With this in mind PBSAs seem to be the way forward. University halls will always provide the basics, but do students need more than a bed and an age-old shower to succeed?
When picking accommodation, whether this is University halls or a PBSA, you need to consider what makes you happy. Are you able to focus with slow internet? Do you like having a gym nearby? Do you need assigned working spaces? How much do you like organised events? There is so much more to think about than whether the room has a double bed or an ensuite bathroom. Living in student accommodation is like no other experience. It is messy, loud and eventful, making it important to consider what living situation would best suit you and help you to combat the stresses of exam week.
Having not had the greatest experience in University halls myself, looking at every inch of your life and how it will fit into your accommodation will save you a lot of heartache longterm This might seem like an overkill now, but your accommodation will become much more than where you store your food and sleep at night. It will be the place you study, socialise and destress after a bad day. I’m confident that by finding the most suitable setting for you during times of stress, you will also find the best setting for you during times of enjoyment.
By Rebecca Hodson
13 STEPS TO SUCCEED IN UNIVERSITY AND GET A FIRST-CLASS DEGREE
You’ll probably have two main aims at university: to enjoy yourself, and to do well in your degree.
Enjoying yourself is usually the easy bit – you’ll have new friends, more freedom than you’re used to, and a subject that you (hopefully) love. “Doing well” can be a bit trickier, because it’s all about balance. But don’t worry…
Here are 14 things that will help you prepare for uni success:
1. Be dedicated
University doesn’t come cheap, so work hard. Commit to your degree. You’ve most likely had to work hard to get here, so make it worthwhile. There’s plenty of fun to be had at university, and denying yourself a good time isn’t the answer, but you need to commit yourself to your degree.
Treat it like a relationship – there’ll be times when you and studying just don’t get along, but persevere and remember why you’re here. Which brings us onto our next point…
2. Know where you’re going
Don’t worry if you don’t have an exact career plan, but try to visualise where you want your degree to take you. Start thinking about industries that interest you, and consider how your degree can work with your passions. If you have a dream job, put it to the front of your mind whenever you’re lacking motivation.
This may take some practice, but having an end goal can keep you on track when your mind is wandering and your urge to procrastinate seems overpowering.
3. Show up to classes
Lectures, seminars, and office hours with tutors are all in place to help you get to your final goal. Courses are meticulously designed, and each discussion, presentation, and assignment is a building block to take you from undergrad to graduate.
Some modules might not excite you, but they’ll contain valuable information. If you’re struggling to make it to scheduled classes, look at how much you’re spending on an hour’s worth of education with this tool from Save the Student.
You’ll be far less likely to skip out on a day’s worth of classes if you know the financial equivalent – it probably averages around £60 a day!
4. Get to know the library
Academic libraries are treasure troves of information. Not only is the library a great place to study if you like to immerse yourself in your work, but you’ll usually be able to find all your coursebooks (though there might be a waiting list for books on popular courses), and there’ll be a mountain of further reading.
When you’re presented with your reading list, the thought of further reading might feel intimidating, but reading a wider range of materials than just what’s required will give you an edge above other students. Your work will be more thorough and informed, and you’ll stand out to your tutors as a committed and passionate student.
5. Revise what you learn
The leap from sixth-form or college to university can feel like a big one, and you’ll be expected to study and retain a lot more information, and with less guidance than you’re used to.
Revision isn’t the most glamorous part of studying, but reviewing the notes you take in lectures, and re-reading sets texts will help you hold onto more of what you’ve learned. If you’re starting to feel a bit hazy on something you studied last term, try to read up on it, so that you’ve not forgotten it by the time your exams come around.
6. Study with your friends
It’s recommended that you study for around 20 hours in addition to your contact time – that’s time with lecturers and tutors. This might vary depending on your degree, but you should think about university like a full-time job if you want to get the most out of it.
That being said, putting in those hours of independent study can get pretty lonely. Try to make friends with coursemates and join study groups, and, if you’re a Fusion student, you should definitely make use of the beautiful study space we have to study socially rather than holing up in your room for hours on end – and then…
7. Spend down time with your friends
University life is all about balance, and it’s essential to make time to relax. Hard work with no relief can damage your mental health, and result in reduced productivity. Try to get away from your desk on day trips, nights out, and nights in, to give your brain some well-earned down time. Regular breaks and activities you enjoy will refresh your mind – much as having rest days from the gym refreshes your body.
8. Get plenty of sleep
Just like those gym rest days, mental rest is absolutely essential if you want to maintain a positive outlook and a healthy mind. You’ll find that sleep deprivation affects your ability to concentrate and retain information, so even when you’ve got a looming deadline or an exam to study for, make sure you’re getting plenty of shut-eye.
You may feel like you don’t have time to get a full 7-8 hours (that’s the recommended amount), but you’ll be grateful when you wake up fresh and with a clear head.
9. Praise yourself
A lot is expected of you at uni. Pressure from parents, tutors, your friends, and yourself can help to motivate you, but can also get your stress levels up.
Take pride in good grades, in finishing work on time, and in putting in a couple of hours in the library. Reward yourself when you’ve worked hard – this might be with a night out, with an ASOS order, or even with a Netflix binge, but praising yourself when you work hard can be really effective at keeping your motivation up when your energy levels are down.
10. Switch off when you’re studying
Social media is brilliant for keeping in touch with friends and family, for getting inspired, for getting the latest news… But it can also be detrimental to your mental health and concentration.
If you find you’re opening Snapchat every time you look away from your screen, or are checking WhatsApp to keep up with the group chat, turn off your phone until you’ve finished the chapter you’re reading or the section you’re writing.
Be careful of binging on social media in your downtime too – we’re all too familiar with #goals, and while inspiration is a good thing, it’s important to separate the perfection you see online from reality. Remember that what most people share on social media is the polished, edited, curated version of their life, so don’t let it get you down.
Instagram will show the people you follow living their best lives in their best clothes, with their best friends, in the slickest gyms, or the swankiest bars, but that’s probably not their entire reality. Be grateful for what you have, and take time to check in with the people and activities that make you happy.
12. Prioritise your mental health
There are all kinds of pressures at university. Family expectations, course requirements, peer pressure – and they’re all (mostly) well intentioned. However, take stock of how you feel each day. Need an evening to yourself? Want to cut out drink or junk food for a few days? Feeling like you could do with getting outside? Listen to your mind and your body; Take a look at our tips for mindfulness and self-care.
13. Find space that makes you happy
Your surroundings have a huge impact on your wellbeing and ability to study. Find a place to study and to relax that keeps you feeling calm and happy. Hopefully, that’s your student room, but common areas and outside spaces can also give you breathing (and thinking!) room.
Whether you’re a fresher or a seasoned third-year…
Following these tips and work to the best of your ability. Getting a first-class degree is no mean feat, but self-belief and balance will help you get there. For more study tips, city guides, and general student life advice, check out our blog.
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.