As a university student, this time of year can be stressful. We have our first major exams of the semester, money may be running low, you may be looking into accommodation for next year, and much more. These events can leave you feeling stressed and tired, which is never good.
Personally, the best way for me to reduce stress is doing some physical activities. As a first year at Leeds Beckett you get access to the gym, pool, and classes all for free. In your second and third year, it’s still pretty cheap too. So, my suggestion would be to use this as much as possible.The NHS suggests for adults to have a minimum of 30 minutes exercise every day. This could be running, swimming, or any endurance activity. Doing exercise helps you to clear your mind as well as making you feel more refreshed and relaxed.
If the idea of going to the gym is horrifying then don’t worry! There are plenty of home workouts you can do within the comfort of your room. For instance; you could play some relaxing music and do some yoga. Or use two cans of baked beans as dumbbells and do a small arm workout. Stuck with what to do? There are loads of helpful videos on Facebook and YouTube which give some hints on what exercises you can do. My personal favourite is ‘The Body Coach UK’ YouTube channel. He shows different 15 minute workouts which you can do with limited equipment at home.
Another good way of doing exercise is going for a walk in your local area. In Headingley there is a beautiful park at ‘Kirkstall Abbey', which is amazing no matter the weather. The fresh air helps you to relax, and can improve your sleep so you won’t be tired in lectures. There are plenty more pretty and chilled out places to visit in Leeds, from parks to castles and churches. There is a beautiful market in Church (yes, the nightclub!) that runs most Sundays. To find out more information about the different markets running, just search ‘Leeds Market' on Facebook and you will find plenty of markets you can explore in your free time.
If this kind of stuff isn’t quite your cup of tea, then there are plenty of TV shows you catch up on to chill you out! My current favourite is a show called ‘Finding Carter' which has over 40 one hour long episodes. There is also ‘The Flash' and ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' on Netflix. If you are more into movie marathons then I would suggest an engrossing Tim Burton movie marathon consisting of Frankenweenie, Corpse Bribe, The Nightmare Before Christmas, then nicely finished off with Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. If you’re not a Tim Burton fan then I would suggest one of the many Marvel/DC movies that have been released or even the comedy movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians' which is extremely funny.
If at the end of a long day you want to curl up with a good book, I have a few suggestions for your next read. If you like magic action books; I would suggest the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy or the Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
I've left the most important thing for improving your mood ‘til last – diet! By ‘diet’ I don’t mean a diet like you find in magazines, starving yourself or joining a weight loss club. By ‘diet’ I mean just having a balanced diet. This means not having a takeaway every night, but having one every now and again to make you happy. The NHS states that to have a healthy balanced diet you need to have a wide variety of foods in the right proportions. This also means drinking plenty of water. By having this balanced diet, it will give you the energy you need to function properly; keeping you awake and roaring to go. nutrition.org.uk is a good website that give you ideas on portion sizes as well as hints and tips for university students on a budget. Having a healthy diet doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out. In Leeds there are plenty of places where you can go eat some tasty food. For example, Revolution has some really nice burgers at a decent price. Pizza Fella has lush pizzas from £6, or you could try a restaurant called Tharavadu if you want a curry that’s filled with veggies and flavour. If all else fails and you want to stick to what you know, there are plenty of Wetherspoons around Leeds for you to pick from.
So in a nutshell, to stay happy and healthy this winter you need to eat well, do exercise, and have time to relax. It will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to smash those exams come January!