Starting college is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life, and it is only natural to feel a little nervous. This can be especially true for first year students, but returning students can experience stress, too. Even third and fourth year students may find that they need a little extra support as final exams approach and post college life looms.
Our RESCUE®* team, with our trusty student bag essential RESCUE PLUS™** Lozenges, have teamed up with The Stress Management Society (StressManagementSociety.com) to make settling into this new routine a little bit easier.
Here are our best 5 tips for staying on top of things and keeping your cool as you embark on this amazing adventure:
Heading to university for the first time can be a real shock to the system. Life as you know it completely changes, so homesickness is only natural. If you are finding this change in routine overwhelming — you’re not alone. ‘How to survive homesickness at university’ has been googled more than a staggering 16 million times!
To combat homesickness, we recommended that you set a date to go home before you even set off for school. This will give you something to work towards and look forward to. Try not to go home during exam time, especially if you are tempted to give up. It takes time to settle into any new environment and in a few months time, you’ll likely be taking your independent lifestyle in your stride.
2. Get in to a sleeping routine
While the prospect of all those nights out at the beginning of the new year sounds exciting, don’t forget to rest and recharge. It is recommended that you get at least 7-8 hours sleep every night. Sleeping for 8 hours is said to lighten symptoms of anxiety, improve your general well-being and increase cognitive function and memory, so you'll feel more capable and keep on top of your workload.
To ensure a restful night’s sleep, try and go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day to allow your body to get into a regular pattern. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cola or eating too late in the evening. Using computers, tablets and smartphones in the evening has also been linked to poor sleep, so ditch the screen and do something relaxing like reading (not your text books!) or listening to music instead.
3. Start building up your personal network
Isolation is known to increase stress, so when you’ve moved away from your family and friends it is important to create a good support system and make new friends as early as possible. Joining clubs and interst groups will help you to meet like-minded people and take a much needed break from your studies, allowing you to maintain a healthy balance between work and fun.
4. Eat well
Eating well is a great way to take care of yourself and improve your general well-being. Making sure you get enough Vitamin C and B12 is especially important. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and slow release carbohydrates such as whole grains, which will provide you with a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Another important nutrient for students is omega 3 fatty acids which can improve mood and mental function. The best sources are oily fish such as mackerel and salmon but they can also be found in nuts and seeds.
There is no doubt that for many students alcohol can play a part in college life. But remember, heavy drinking can add to negative feelings, and lecture courses with a hangover are never fun. Try to drink in moderation and keep some alcohol-free days every week. When you are out, try to alternate alcohol with soft drinks to slow your drinking down and avoid overindulging.
5. Get active
Being active will also make a big difference to how you feel. Consider joining a sports team to get some exercise at least once a week, and try walking to class whenever possible. Some find that high impact exercises such as running help them to blow off steam, while others prefer gentle, relaxing activities like yoga. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy, as this will make it much easier to stick to.
Any kind of exercise has a powerful effect on your mental health. It triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural “feel good” hormones, and can help to reduce anxiety and elevate your mood.