Camilla Duke gives us her top tips for remaining mentally and physically healthy during Freshers' week. This is a scary, stressful, and exciting time of your life and in it you will make some of your fondest memories; but for this to happen, you must stay fit and healthy or those memories will be left tarnished.
In the coming days, you are probably going to receive a lot of unsolicited advice about Freshers’ Week. Some of it may be relevant to your experience and worth heeding, but a lot of it will not. One of the few universal truths about starting university is that it is going to be overwhelming, whether you are moving an hour or a hemisphere away. I most certainly do not have all the answers, but I do have some tips to keeping your sanity intact during Freshers’ week.
- Attempt to sleep. Naps are a fresher’s best friend. I cannot stress this enough. It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos and try to attend every single event, but do not sacrifice (too much) sleep.
- Go to events by yourself. If there is something you are interested in but your roommate/flatmate/neighbour doesn’t want to go, then go anyway. You will regret not getting involved in things you love.
- Check in with yourself. Am I really feeling up to another long night out? How’s my mental health? Did I drink enough water today? Try to remember that although your new friends might be great, you know yourself better than they do, and you are best equipped to take care of yourself.
- Drink water, eat your veggies, etc. This seems almost absurdly motherly for me to include, but Freshers’ Flu can kick your ass during Week 1. If you have anything important coming up--meetings, auditions, try-outs, society events—you will want to be at least somewhat healthy.
- Go for a walk. My single best piece of advice for taking care of your mental health in the Bubble is to go on a walk by yourself (preferably on a nice day). There are so many places you can walk, so take an hour to wander around.
- Take advantage of the resources available to you. If you are feeling lost, seek help. This can be a really scary step, but if you don’t do it at the beginning, it is easy to fall into the habit of convincing yourself you are okay. It’s okay not to be okay.
Remember that not everyone’s mental health is the same, therefore not all self-care routines are the same. These tips might work perfectly for you, or they might be a starting point to find what works for you, or they might be completely useless. The bottom line is that your health, both mental and physical, is and should be treated as a priority, especially during Freshers’ week. My health definitely has had its ups and downs at uni, but I come back to these tips to keep myself in check.