May can be a stressful time at the University with student exams and short deadlines for those involved in marking and assessment.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week we are mounting an information stall in the Claverton Rooms foyer all week.

Top Tips for Self-Care

Self-Care

Self-care is simply identifying your own needs and then taking steps to meet those needs. This can range from something quick and simple like taking a shower or drinking a glass of water, to more complex tasks, such as cooking and eating a meal or engaging in exercise, or even to planning for a future event such as going out with friends, going on holiday, or taking a leisure class.

Prioritise ‘you’ time

It’s well-known that if you don't take care of your needs first, you can't continue to effectively help others. Think of the classic example of being on an aeroplane. The flight attendant tells you that in an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. The same concept applies to mental health.

Proactive self-care

Proactive self-care means building in times to take care of yourself, instead of waiting until you are burned out or stressed out. When you practice consistent proactive self-care, crisis situations feel more manageable, and you can keep burnout away.

Stick to your routine

Establishing a solid routine can make a real difference to your mood and mental stability. Waking up at a similar time each day, sleeping at a similar time, and going outdoors in the daylight can aid motivation and mood.

Good sleep

Pay attention to your sleep routine. It’s not just about how much sleep you get, the quality matters too. Switch off your IT well before bedtime so that your brain can begin to wind down before you get ready for bed. Make your bedroom a sleeping sanctuary so your brain and body associate it with winding down and relaxing, which means keeping things like eating, checking social media, and watching TV to another room.

Good self-care includes setting boundaries

We are all so busy that sometimes it can be hard to find any time for yourself, but it’s really important to take some time out for yourself, even if that involves saying ‘no’ to those around you. When you practice good self-care, you set limits around your time and what you need. Healthy people in your life respect boundaries and can accept your "no" as you taking good care of yourself. The more you set and stick to these healthy boundaries, the more you'll find that others become respectful of them.

Self-care is different for everyone

Your self-care activities are simply what works for you, whether it’s a phone chat with an old friend, a meal out with a loved one, a hike in the hills, or curling up with the cat and a good book. We all have our favourite things that work for us. Find yours and make the most of them!