Staying healthy at university

Anna Lockey
Residence Life & Student Accommodation Services Assistant

Being healthy at university isn’t only about what we eat and drink – many factors can affect our physical health and personal wellbeing, especially when we are thrown into the deep end living away from home. We all get into bad habits from time to time, but our top tips can help you along the way.

It’s good to talk

Starting university is an emotional time – saying goodbye to friends and loved ones can pull at the heartstrings so feeling apprehensive is completely understandable.

It might feel daunting to talk to other students so take small steps. You can break the ice by asking what course they are studying or where they are from. Once you have started conversations it’s a good idea to start building a social circle of familiar faces. You will meet many people during your time here including flatmates, students on your course and even in a society.

Try planning things to look forward to – even if it’s just a coffee with a new friend as this will help you to feel more settled. Sometimes it takes a bit of bravery to make the first introduction.

The people at home will be feeling just as emotional as you, so remember to keep in regular contact about how you are settling in. They will be excited to hear about your Freshers’ week stories and to see photos from your new adventures. Even if you are having a difficult day it’s good to talk and get it off your chest.

Plan phone calls or Skype times with your friends and family to share your uni news.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to our Hall Volunteers can be a friendly ear. Alternatively, you might want to speak to someone from the University’s Learning Gateway team who can introduce you to a range of services.


Food for thought

Trying to eat healthily doesn’t always go to plan! We’ve all indulged in takeaways and convenience food but it’s not wise to eat it every day – it’s also not very friendly on the bank balance.

Being mindful of what we eat and drink can have a positive impact on our university performance.

Not everybody is a budding chef but you have to start somewhere. Our Facebook groups have an online cookbook to help you create some tasty and affordable meals. You might also find some handy videos online or share recipes with your friends.

Meal planning is a good way to save waste and ensures that you are eating regular meals. Prepping your meals can save you money – choose healthy ingredients and cook in bulk, then you can freeze some meals to eat in the week. Try not to skip meals as food is fuel after all!

Drinking more water is vital to your overall health. Remember to hydrate regularly especially in between drinking lots of caffeine or alcohol.

Overspending on convenience food can quickly catch up with you. Before you know it you’ve blown your budget and then you start to worry about money. Make a budget that includes eating out and groceries to stop you from overspending. Learn the times that supermarkets reduce their food, here you can stock up on some bargain ingredients to bulk cook and freeze for the week.

Sharing is caring – cooking together can save money, is good for your social contact and ensures that you all have a home-cooked meal.


Keeping active

There are a number of ways to stay active mentally and physically at university. With the sports centre located in the heart of campus, it’s quite easy to fit in a work out session or fitness class around your timetable.

A 20-minute stroll from campus is Plymouth Life Centre, here you can go for a refreshing swim or even try a bit of rock climbing. But this might not be everybody’s cup of tea.

We are so lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world and there are plenty of places to explore and get a breath of fresh air. Take a stroll around the famous Barbarian and seafront with lots to see including the famous lighthouse on the Hoe. In the spring you can enjoy a dip in the outdoor lido which is filled with salt water – refreshing!

If you are feeling adventurous why not take the bus and plan a walk on Dartmoor to see the ponies, spectacular views and breathe in the clean Devon air.


Let’s get social

Join a society to meet like-minded student and keep active.

The Students’ Union offers a number of sports clubs and societies for you to join. Here you get to learn new activities and take part in social events throughout your time at University. Joining a club provides new friendships in addition to course and flatmates and allows you to look forward to organised events. Not all societies are sport related so you could learn a new hobby to de-stress from day to day life.