The Student Cost Of Living Crisis: Tips For Your Mental Health
As a student your mental health can be impacted from time to time, from dealing with living away from home, financial worries, academic stress, as well as other factors.
With the weight of the cost of living crisis, it’s another factor which can affect your mental health whilst at university.
Studies have discovered that 49% of students felt they had financial difficulties, and they believe that the current crisis has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing.
So, it’s even more vital to take the necessary steps to look after your mental wellbeing whilst at uni during the current climate.
It’s certainly not an easy time, and if you’re feeling the strain of the cost of living crisis, we’ve put together this guide with some top tips for your mental health.
Find out more within our post below.
Top Tips For Your Mental Health
Navigating through the cost of living crisis whilst at university and also trying to support your mental health can be hard.
Here at USL we’re here to help, which is why we’ve put together this guide of top 10 tips for improving your wellbeing!
1. Reach Out To Others
It’s likely your friends and those around you at university will be feeling the weight of the cost of living crisis too.
So, try not to suffer in silence and instead reach out to others about your struggles, they’re probably dealing with similar things and you can offer a shoulder of support to one another.
We’d also suggest making sure you surround yourself with understanding people who not only understand the financial impacts of the cost of living crisis but also the toll it could be taking on your mental health.
During times like this, it’s so important to have a positive support network around you who you can open up to, and vice versa!
You’ll probably feel a whole lot better after talking with others about your mental health and any stressors you may be facing during the current cost of living crisis.
2. Try To Keep Yourself Busy
Keeping yourself busy and making plans can feel impossible when you’re worried about your finances during the current crisis, but you should try to enjoy your student experience the best you can.
If you’re struggling with money, you could opt for more budget friendly alternatives like having a games night in your student flat rather than heading out.
It can feel tempting to just hide away in your room when you’re feeling stressed or your mental health is taking a toll, but in truth, this will just make you feel worse.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t take time for yourself as this is beneficial for poor mental health too, but make sure to do it in small doses so that you’re not isolating yourself.
It could be helpful to keep yourself busy and help with your daily routine by looking into job opportunities if you’re able to work alongside your studies.
This way you can gain new skills, help your financial situation as well as possibly improve your mental health, you may even meet new people too.
3. Be Physically Active
Staying physically active is something which can significantly improve not only your physical health but also your mental health too.
During the winter, we know it can be a struggle to get yourself out and exercise, but it’s important for your mental and physical health – you don’t have to head outdoors to stay fit.
You can stay physically active in any way which suits you, whether it’s doing home workouts, going for a walk, heading to the gym, practising yoga, you name it.
Even just spending 30 minutes a day keeping yourself fit can really give your wellbeing the boost it needs, as well as helping to reduce your stress levels.
4. Find Self Care That Works For You
Whenever the term ‘self care’ springs to mind, people think about facemasks, bubble baths, spa days, and whilst these definitely can improve your mental wellbeing, it’s important to find ways which work for you.
Whatever selfcare looks like to you, make sure to focus on that and look after your wellbeing.
Whether it’s spending time with friends, going for a calming walk, watching your favourite TV shows, listening to music, it really is up to YOU.
You should just find ways which make you feel grounded, no matter what they are.
It’s a difficult time for many of us within the UK amidst the rising cost of living, so make sure you make yourself a priority and do things which make you feel good.
Self care is especially important whilst at university as like we said earlier, there are many challenges which students face and quite often these things will take a toll upon mental health.
5. Learn Something New
Whilst learning something new won’t stop the cost of living crisis, it can help improve your mental health and boost your mood.
Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, finding new interests, learning new recipes, or even joining a society or group at university, there are plenty of options out there.
Research suggests that learning new things can help reduce stress as well as build a sense of purpose in your life.
We’re not saying you have all the time in the world whilst at university, you have a lot of learning to do already with your degree.
But, if you’ve noticed your mental wellbeing needs a boost, you should try to learn and take up new things.
This way, it can help to distract you from concentrating on stressful situations, like the cost of living crisis.
6. Don’t Compare Your Situation
If you’re having to make difficult decisions about your budget and what you can pay for, this will most likely be causing a decline in your mental health.
If this is the case, we’d suggest trying not to compare your financial situation to others.
It’s easy to compare your situation to others whilst at uni, we all do it from time to time, especially due to social media, but remember, you’re only seeing the highlight reel and this can be unrealistic!
Everyone’s money situation is different, and the way people handle certain situations also varies.
Not everyone will be struggling in the same way due to the rising costs of living, so you should remind yourself that your current situation may be different to your friends or family members.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t try to match up to anyone else’s financial expectations.
Such as if you have friends at uni who are asking you to do things that don’t meet your budget, you shouldn’t make yourself struggle even more due to peer pressure.
7. Practice Mindfulness
It can be difficult to remember to look after yourself sometimes, but this next tip will help you manage your mental health problems.
Practising mindfulness and paying attention to the present moment can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which you may be feeling a lot of during this current crisis.
A few of the other benefits of practising mindfulness include better sleep, lowered blood pressure and improved concentration.
There are many short mindful exercises out there with some TikTok videos for you to watch.
If you’re unsure how to get started, give it a try!
8. Try Journaling
As we navigate through this difficult time, it’s vital to find different ways to help deal with our mental health issues.
A great way to help with gaining control over your own feelings and get a clearer idea of your state of mind is to start journaling.
Keeping a journal can also help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and so forth.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’d suggest trying to write a bit each day by setting aside a few minutes each day, so you get in a regular pattern.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to write, it’s your own private journal so you can put down whatever you feel like.
It doesn’t have to specifically be a physical journal either, some people find that writing down on the notes app on their phone can be useful!
9. Sleep Better
During the cost of living crisis you may feel disruption to your daily life and your sleeping pattern may be impacted.
Whilst it’s normal for our sleeping patterns to be a bit hit or miss during stressful times in our life, ensuring you get enough rest is super important as a way to improve your mental health.
If you weren’t already aware, sleep and mental health are closely connected.
Many people who are struggling with their mental health may sleep too much or too little, which in turn can impact upon wellbeing as it can lower your energy levels and decrease your mood.
In order to sleep better there are a few things you can do such as create a restful environment, pay attention to what you eat and drink, stay physically active, reduce blue light exposure before bedtime as well as trying to manage your worries.
Working on am improved sleeping pattern can help ensure good mental health!
10. Seek Out Financial Support
Money worries have always been a factor that students have been faced with, but now due to the cost of living crisis, it’s become harder and harder to get by.
If you are experiencing money worries which are impacting your mental health or academic performance whilst at uni, you should seek out financial help.
We know, it can feel daunting to ask for help sometimes but you shouldn’t suffer as there is help out there.
Like they say, a problem shared is a problem halved!
Universities have support in place for students who find themselves in financial difficulties.
So, speak to your university’s money team if you’re being hit hard by rising costs as they will be able to offer advice and guidance.
You should also consider government support to help deal with financial problems at uni.
It’s a hard situation to be faced with as a student, and whilst we hope these mental health tips have been helpful, there’s not one solution for tackling the impacts of the cost of living crisis.
No matter what works for looking after your mental health, make sure to do this and reach out for support, there are plenty of helpful resources out there like Student Minds.
It’s important to also speak to your GP or reach out to mental health services if you think you believe you need professional support for financial or mental health worries.
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